Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Block 18 - Cheyenne - Wyoming Firsts

It is a dull overcast day on which we were promised snow; an altogether good day to stay in my sewing room and stitch up my block promptly.

I have been waiting and waiting to use this green and white fabric and this morning I was determined this was the day even if this was not necessarily the best block to feature it in.

Again we have a block that can change dramatically depending on fabric choices and placements. Those pairs of squares on the outer edges bothered me hence my decision to use very similar fabrics to make them less obvious. Using that green and white in the center was always going to make this a dramatic block so I decided to keep it simple by not using too many competing fabrics.

My plan had been to take a photo outdoors with a snowy background but really the snow turned out to be very minimal. Instead I thought I might pose the block with the matching flowers and looked over by the oriental gentleman. When we lived in Melbourne we went several times to Ballarat and Bendigo which were gold-rush towns that attracted Chinese migrants to work in the goldfields. On one of those trips I bought this garden statue in Bendigo. The story that goes with today's block mentions Esther Hobart Morris who traveled to Wyoming inspired by the gold-rush.

And now, having finished my GC block in good time, I will carry on with making the last 28 flying geese units that I need for the border of Strawberries and Cream.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Block 17 Mother's Delight - Christabel Pankhurst

While this mother was sewing her block yesterday she was distracted by the delightful creations being worked on in the kitchen where her sons were working together to make a couple of cookie recipes. Every now and then I needed to go and give an opinion or advice about how to proceed.

As a result it was after dark before the block got finished and, again, I ran into photographing difficulties. The background fabric I use in all the blocks is not an easy one to photograph; it often shows poorly. In the bright light of today I have spent a few minutes with the camera to see if I can achieve a better result.

 The block this week will have made the beginners in the group feel very challenged. I decided to make templates using the blockbase pattern which further added to the time it took to get the block finished. I see on the flickr page that several people created a paper foundation pieced pattern and used that method although I'm not sure if it would have been much quicker or more accurate.

I'm showing you the result of the baking - M & M cookie slice on the plate and chocolate cherry cordials in the cookie tin. Before I can have a turn baking it seems there will need to be another trip to the supermarket to replenish ingredients.  The tree is what I won at our quilt guild holiday potluck party by sitting in the chair with the hidden sticker.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Block 16 Capital T - Sarah Pellet

Hooray, it is a beautiful day outside and I am home during the day to not only make my block but take it's photos. On the down side I just got a message from my internet provider to say they are having difficulties so we'll see if I can actually post this!

Temperance meetings were, apparently, how some women gained confidence in public speaking. They took this experience with them to the suffrage movement. As we progress through this project many of us are gaining confidence in such as fussy cutting and careful stitching to achieve points and accuracy in block sizes. Now this is not going to change the world like our foremothers did but, hey, anything that improves my skills is rewarding.

When thinking about the audiences that Sarah Pellet and her temperance sisters were addressing I concluded that it was likely to most often be a group of men she faced. Taking inspiration from that I wanted to use fabrics that looked more masculine especially for that center square. This argyle pattern seemed to fit the need although it is a little disappointing that it is not printed square on the fabric but close enough was going to be good enough for me today!

Also today I wanted to acknowledge how my quilt sisters help me. Firstly I wanted to show you how I use Jo Morton's clipping trick on the reverse side to help the block lay flatter and let the seam allowances go in the direction they want to go. Then I also want to thank Rebecca and Gayle for listening to me whine about how difficult it is to sew seams when both seam allowances go in the same direction (I am challenged with this on my Strawberries and Cream project). Rebecca told me that she sometimes resorts to using the "height compensating tool" when stitching this type of a seam. When I said I didn't think I had seen that tool in my accessory case Gayle kindly lent me hers declaring that she never uses it. Of course when I checked all the way in the back of a drawer that does not pull out easily from the accessory case I found I did in fact have one of these gadgets. And it really does help!

Thank you quilt sisters, your advice helped me on the block this week.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Block 15 - Centennial - New Zealand's Victory

Hooray! After 14 weeks of quietly waiting and making blocks this week's block is an acknowledgement of the history making suffragettes in my native New Zealand who were the very first to win the right to vote.

But before I get onto my block I just want to say I felt more than a little pressure this week. Firstly, since the block was about New Zealand I couldn't just whip up something without too much thought. But secondly, gee, in my neck of the woods it is December and my calendar is chockablock and I wondered how so many others got their blocks made and posted so promptly.

On Saturday morning I got a message from kayellekiwi pointing out that I had been given a great opportunity this week - the stamp shown in the Barabara Brackman blog posting was the ideal color for my own color scheme. But alas, the center square for block 15 is on point and turning the stamp image on point would not look right.

Since the title of the block is Centennial I felt it would be appropriate to celebrate just that, the centennial. Thus I looked to the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal commissioned by Her Majesty The Queen for design inspiration. I chose to try to replicate the ribbon design in the rectangles and in the center square to go bold and state New Zealand in a circle to represent the medal shape. I wish I had a fabric with a camellia flower but, to date, that still eludes me.

With the words New Zealand already appearing on the block it seemed a good week to give the map a rest. Instead I am showing artifacts which demonstrate that I can vote.

Don't peer too closely at your monitor - trying to sew those white and golden yellow stripes at 3/16" wide was surely testing my abilities. Oh, I forgot to mention that I decided to give myself permission to break my own color rule for this block and use the realistic golden yellow. Next week I'll return to my normal programming and keep to the chartreuse, red-violet and white color scheme.

Maybe next Saturday and Sunday will be a little less hectic and allow me to get to my block in a more timely fashion. Of course I may have to at least start to write Christmas cards by then. Oh well, it's worth hoping!

p.s I was a little disappointed in the link Ms Brackman provided showing "a quilt made by a native New Zealander". Firstly, the quilt is made by someone in the Cook Islands - that is similar to choosing to show something made by someone in Puerto Rico and pass it off as representative of a quilt made by someone in the USA. Secondly, there are many, many excellent quilters in New Zealand who make outstanding quilts and I am sad that a better choice was not made to depict a New Zealand quilt.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Block 14 - Bride's Knot - Invisible Women

Yes, I have felt quite invisible with this week's block! I had a problem getting it loaded on the flickr site which was finally resolved when I signed in with another account. That gremlin who lives in my computer and pops up from time to time to challenge me has been quite active this week!

But's the block:

 In making my fabric selections I first thought of using a fabric with circles on it to represent wedding rings. But it turned out the fabric I was thinking of did not really work. The one I then chose for right in the center is because that motif reminds me of old settings for engagement rings.

The churn dash block is a long time favorite of mine but depending on how you place your colors you can make the block look quite different. In looking back at last weeks photo I took of the earlier blocks together I decided to change those corner triangles so as not to keep repeating the placement.  What is my so called background fabric (the one I use in every block) usually appears on the corners so I sought to reverse that placement. Thus the medium green essentially becomes the background this week. And now I don't really see this as being a churn dash block.

 This ring is not what I call old but it does share a similar shape with that central motif.

And finally, I am back to using the map to stage my blocks. I became a bride in England so I have added in that page from the atlas. For New Zealand I pinpoint Martinborough where my mother became a bride and the Otago region where my grandmother became a bride. And I have placed my bridal rings along with my mother's ruby wedding ring on my block.

Alas, it was another case of having to go in the closet for the photos this week.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Block 13 - Everybody's Favorite - Universal Suffrage

It was after 9pm before I was able to be taking my photos for this block so it is another "in the closet" shot! The purple fabric color takes a "hit" in such situations and does not really show true.

When I was looking at the sample blocks made to illustrate Barbara Brackman's posting for this week I was struck with the notion that the block had eaten too much Thanksgiving dinner (i.e. it had a "chubby" look to my eye). The block base version looked more pleasing to me so I set out to use that pattern. And it was another week of dithering and dithering over fabric choices. I'm wondering if Georgann who makes the red and white blocks might not have a much easier time of it! But does she have as much fun along the way?

With it being dark and very cold outside there was no opportunity for any fancy setups for a photo this week. But since I had all the blocks out (I had carried them with me yesterday on a Black Friday trip to the fabric store sale) I thought it might be time for another group shot.

I see I need to make a few more blocks that use the more conservative fabrics in my pile. Another thing I cannot help but notice is the purple - when I began my notion was to use a green and white palette with just a touch of purple - seems to me the purple is being applied with a much heavier hand than first planned.

You'll also be wondering how I have a 16 block layout; 13 does not arrange nicely and I have two block 1s and two block 12s so it was a case of all together now and let's see that gorgeous Hoffman fabric that I found early on as well.

And now I'm off to see what else has been done this week. There are some beauties that's for sure.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Block 12 - Little Boy's Breeches - Dress Reform

I feel like a dog with a big ol' bone after doing the block this week. For the past three days I have been gnawing and gnawing on that bone and I'm not really sure it is done yet but I'm ready to let another dog have a try at it!

The general consensus on the Flickr site is that the blog this week was challenging. So many decisions needed to be made before any fabric was cut. At first I wanted to make the breeches floral to show that this was a feminine issue. But then I thought I might like the challenge of using a striped fabric - huh! After cutting several pieces incorrectly I then moved onto thinking that spots would be just fine.

So I made this one on Saturday:

H'mm, am I happy with how that center looks? There's a touch of green in the corner that sort of bleeds into the breeches. Maybe I'll have another try.

 Those striped fabrics were still calling to me and I could not choose which one so I used both. But now, I'm not really sure this one is an improvment on the first one. So I'll see who comments and what they say. I'm wondering if the issue with this block is that I used color as a decider when I should have used value. Maybe if the skinny purple triangles were a much darker purple it might have improved the look.

 For the spotted breeches block I was sewing with my friends at the library. My friends are rapidly being divided into two groups - those who are in the Grandmother's Choice group and those who cannot understand why I am so fixated on getting the blocks just right each Saturday. But pinkdeenster and I were gnashing our teeth together on Saturday and encouraging each other along as we got to a "I give up" point. She got her two versions made by the end of Saturday night I see.

 A comment I got via email on Sunday "I cannot believe that you are considering making another of yesterday's blocks after spending so much time on that one. Maybe you could give it a few more days rest to get a fresh perspective on the darn thing before deciding whether to tackle it again; at that point you might realize what you created yesterday is really OK".

I wondered if the Foo Dog might be able to breathe a little life into this one because I'm not really sure it is an improvement on the first block.

And here's the result of hours of work.There were several "legs" cut incorrectly. Then there were the two legs sewn together in the incorrect way. I called into service my Jinny Beyer handpiecing tool which is very useful for pesky seams. Does the block look better on point? Er, my setting plan is to have the blocks straight.

Do feel free to let me know which block you prefer! Advice like the quote above is always worthy of consideration.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Speaking of houses

A few weeks back I went to our guild retreat where the theme was "It Takes a Village". You might recall seeing the Happy Scrappy Houses blocks I made and wrote about on October 15.

After the retreat it occurred to me that this block pattern would make a cheerful and fun quilt to give to a guild member who is recovering from serious surgery. I put the word out and asked members to make a block for this purpose. When the blocks came back it seemed like a good idea to make two quilts; one small one for the wall and a larger one in a lap quilt size.

Once the blocks were collected two guild friends came over to my house and we spent a day putting together the tops. This was a speedy project - we got the tops done, then quilted and bound. If Hurricane Sandy had not intervened we would have been finished even sooner.

Here we see "A Pieceful Cul-de-Sac".  We wanted to make this fun and remind the recipient of the many hours she has spent volunteering in a local elementary school so figures from the Lorax (of Dr Seuss fame) along with a pumpkin (It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown - we did this on Halloween) appear in this quilt.

 And here we have "The Missingu Village" . Please excuse the uneven light across the image - I'm a better quilt maker than photographer.

Since most everything I make now takes months, if not years, to complete it was fun to make a couple of quilts that were completed in under a month.

And as for schoolhouses I did make a Little Red Schoolhouse quilt way back in 1980something...

I see this was made using a similar pattern to this past Saturday's block 11; there are subtle differences however like the chimneys, that band of white above the windows and the small step below the door. My goodness, I even handquilted it! You can read more about this quilt on my post dated March 7, 2011. And looking at it I think I prefer this pattern to the one I came up with for block 11.

Have you "built" any houses lately?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Block 11 - Little Red Schoolhouse - Lucy Stone

The pattern for the block this week bothered me a little perhaps because of my background in architectural drafting. So I had to redraft the block before I could even begin to select fabric.  The dilemma was to try and keep as much of the original block as I could but to change the portions that bothered me the most.

 I just could not make the block with only one window. A schoolhouse needs to let the sunshine in so the children can stay motivated and alert. The tall narrow chimneys were another part I did not like but the photograph on the Grandmothers Choice blog that showed the Mt Holyoke Female Seminary had many tal narrow chimneys so I left them proportioned as they were.

Each week I admire the blocks made by "kookaburra calling" and I was inspired by her block that included a rose window so decided to add one to my block.

Choosing the fabrics took a long time. I wanted to use the floral one for the windows and doors and the siding fabric was selected easily. But choosing the roof fabric? That took forever. This one may be a tad too bold but the roof and siding colors are closest to the exact colorway that I intended to work in for this project than many of my blocks to date.

 At the top of our street is an old schoolhouse and I wanted to "pose" my block with the building in the background. It was a clear and sunny day and the white of the schoolhouse and the brickred of the chimney and adjacent tree showed up well against the sky. Alas though there are other things that have to be worked around like ugly overhead wires and the gravel side parking lot.

The New England asters are still making a pretty showing so I planted the block in front of them for another shot. Gee, I think I had more fun taking the photos than the sewing and fabric selecting.

It's too bad that I could not easily find a photo of the old schoolhouse where I first began school. If I search hard enough I could but I wanted to get this posting up.

I was also thinking about my friends in New Jersey who should have been voting at a schoolhouse last week but had to go instead go to the Firehouse where there was emergency power. They have been many many days without electricity.

So here it is, block 11 my Little Red Violet Schoolhouse.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Block 10 - New York - Susan B. Anthony Breaks the Law

How eerie is the timing of the block for this week? Although it is easy to see why Ms Brackman chose a block about voting (here in the USA we are four days away from going to the polls) she could not have imagined how we have been all glued to the media watching the devasting photographs of a New York ravaged by the huge storm/hurricane Sandy.

This was a block that we also made for the Civil War block of the week. In that project I made the upper left corner of my "flag" a star block.  But for this one, since it is about voting after all, I decided to use the check mark with which a ballot is marked.

I have situated my block adjacent to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand and thus the location of the Parliament.

In thinking about how I might pose my block to take a photo I first thought to use some of the piles of flyers that my mailbox has been stuffed with these past weeks. But I guess we were super efficient with recycling this week and most of them are all gone.

But I did come up with these two (one had to be rescued from the trash bin and is looking a little curled around the edges). Although I thought I should be showing flyers from both parties I notice that Susan B. Anthony announced that she had voted Republican and that is the two flyers I found. So here I am paying homage to Susan B. Anthony. She was arrested for her illegal  vote and never did get to vote a second time as she had died before the law was changed allowing women the vote.

I'm looking forward to not so many flyers in the mailbox after Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Strawberries and Cream

Now that my internet connection is back after the big storm I thought I might treat myself to an hour or so in the sewing room playing with this project.  You might recall my red and white project began in a workshop I was lucky enough to be able to take with Jo Morton back in April. Her quilt from this pattern is Rhubarb Crisp.

Now that I have enough flying geese sash strips made (with a few over to allow for changeouts if I have two fabrics the same too near each other) it is time to stick it up on the wall and move the blocks around. This will also allow me time to ponder what I want to do in the corner stones.

So here is what I currently have; please note I just put them up and  obviously I am going to take the time to move them around to see if they are happier elsewhere. But my basic plan is for the center four stars to be white on white, the next row out is cream on cream stars and the final outer ring of stars is red on cream/white.

I have cut and placed a few red squares to audition cornerstones towards the lower edge - I was doing the same with cream squares but  then I realized the design wall background essentially does the same thing.

In Jo's pattern the geese all fly from east to west and north to south but as you can see I am switching that around and they alternate between flying towards the cornerstone and away from the cornerstone. At the moment I'm leaning towards putting white/cream squares for the cornerstones when the geese fly away and red when they fly towards each other but feel free to give your input!

Another decision still to be made is the outside border. It could just be a plain (i.e.un-pieced) one. It could be un-pieced but with cornerstones (those two blocks that seem to have fallen off the lower edge are samples for that when I would make the stars from red plaid/checked fabric). Or another thought is to make a (berry) basket block cornerstone to tie in with the name.

Now I'll post this for you to look at and I'll go back into the sewing room and move pieces around.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Block 9 Brick Pavement - March on Washington

This block reminds me of my sister as the (day, month) dates are the same...altho I hasten to add this march was a number of decades before my sister's birth! The March on Washington was March 3, 1913 but I doubt my sister wants me to broadcast her birth year.

This should have been an enjoyable block to make but my focus has been greatly diverted this weekend because of the pending large storm headed our way. Instead of playing with fabric this weekend I have spent hours and hours outside trying to get the outdoor area ready for the very high winds and heavy rain we are told to expect on Monday and Tuesday.

Last night I was still up at midnight trying to select fabrics. I had decided I wanted to use one particular fabric (sent to me by Pip who I know only through the Grandmother's Choice project) but I wrestled for ages trying to work out how to use it; in the center squares or in the long rectangles? showing three diamonds or two? with green? with white? with purple?  Would I ever get the block done?

As you know I have the one background fabric that I must use. And it photographs poorly in artificial light. Once we came indoors today around 4.30pm I sat at the machine and frantically sewed so I could take the photo outside in the fading light. I finished just in time and dashed out with my block on a green olfa mat. I discovered too late that the green mat shadowed through by background fabric and showed it poorly...but I did get it posted on the flickr site before we went out again to eat (after all that yard work I was happy to take up the suggestion to eat out).

Now home I have photographed the block again - I set it up in my fabric closet which is equipped with a special daylight bulb. Here's what it looks like in the closet:

 The fabric in those three purple squares are offcuts from the backing fabric of my Purple Passion quilt made in 2005/06. This scrap, only about three inches wide, was carefully tucked away and I came across it this week when looking for something else.

 Because of the expected high winds I had to shuffle round all my outside potted flower plants and put them in as sheltered a position as I could. Earlier in the week I had to clear off my front porch as I had a painter here touching up the paint trim. It seems I have been hauling plant pots hither and yon all week! But look, my hibiscus is still flowering. Wonder how it will be doing after the storm when there is a potential for snow so they say. Thank goodness the weather forecasters are not always right is what I'm hoping.

The dianthus are still looking pretty and crowding out the pansies that might last through the winter if it is mild like last winter was (I'm crossing my fingers here).

Three were a variety of ways that this block could be colored and I may yet do another version of this block. Some people selected fabrics with an eye to having them look like brick pavers. I decided posing the block on brick pavers was going to have to do for me. So many things have already been cancelled for the next couple of days that I'm thinking it will be a good chance to stay home and sew. Of course I would need electricity to be able to do that...

There are so many sewing projects I could work's hoping!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eight Blocks all together now

H'mm, that makes it sound as though I have all eight sewn together. I do not. But I wanted to see how they look together as a unit.

The blocks are arranged in the order they have been sewn.

We got a discount card from the nearby fabric store while we were at retreat so I thought it was silly not to use it. I went into the shop thinking I should look for red checked fabric for the cornerstones of my red and white quilt but I came out with fabric potentials for sashing for the Grandmother's Choice project. Given that I had nothing with me to match colors I am quite pleased with the color choices I selected.

Here I have taken another photo of block 8, this time with natural daytime lighting - does it look that much different I wonder?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Retreat report

At the risk of boring you totally I am now writing a second posting for today. It is either drought or downpour I fear - after weeks of only one posting per week (and that about my block of the week) I have inflicted several posts on you this week.

 Here was my work station on Saturday afternoon. I had sat and drafted my pattern for the "Rocky Road to Kansas" block  by hand using freezer paper and pencil and guided by my invaluable copy of the Jinny Beyer book "The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns". Then I sat on the floor and sorted through my BOW fabric bag seeking fabrics to create my string piecing base for the block. The block was done and photographed (as seen on the previous post) and then I was back to my major focus for this retreat; the completion of the sashing units for my red and white quilt begun in Jo Morton's workshop back in April.

In the April/May period I had made great strides on this project but work had almost entirely stalled since then. All 36 blocks had been made and I had completed 12 of the required 84 flying geese sash units.  Each unit needs four "geese" and with a finished "goose" to measure 1" x 2" that is a lot of cutting and trimming. Additionally I had the crazy notion that  I "should" be able to make these using 21 different reds and the same number of cream/whites. Above you can see some piles of my work on Saturday.

 By Sunday afternoon, around 5pm I had achieved my goal and had stitched, pressed and counted such that I had 84 finished sets plus another four or so full sets and some individual geese as well for "insurance" purposes. Hooray.

By this time many of our retreaters had drifted off home. Carol and I had been over to the nearby fabric store armed with our "20% off your entire purchase this weekend" card. I was seeking red check/plaid/gingham as a potential corner stone for my red and white quilt while Carol was looking for a binding fabric for her really beautiful weekend project of a baby quilt for a brand new great niece. Carol did not find her binding and decided she would make her leftover fabric work by using very creative cutting and piecing. I came back with four one yard pieces of fabric for sashing/setting for my Grandmothers Choice project but no red and white fabric. Gosh, I guess I am going to"have" to go visit another couple of quilt shops this week.

The sharp eyed among you can see that I get through a retreat by constant refueling of tea made the right way - yes, I carry my own electric tea kettle to every retreat (it is a popular item and I am always asked in advance if I am bringing it) and brew tea to drink out of a ceramic mug (no nasty polystyrene taste for me!). My addition this time of a nostalgic item - the tea cosy from Mum and Dad's teapot - made for a good conversation starter.

It was only late this afternoon that the television got turned on so the football fans (and you know I am absolutely not in that group) could watch their favorite team play.

All in all it was a great break away and I enjoyed my time with a bunch of women surrounded by fabric and sewing machines. Do you go on retreat with your quilt group?

Block 8 Rocky Road to Kansas: 1912

This weekend I was away for our guild three day retreat (as mentioned in a previous post). Although I was able to see the blog post about week 8 and make the block on Saturday I am only now home and able to do my write-up.

Mentioned several times in Ms Brackman's post was that this block was traditionally done as a string pieced block and it was important to me to honor that part of the history (even if I did have to "create" the scrappy strings!).

My photo had to be taken in poor light once I returned home this evening. But you will know that my background is the same fabric I have used in each block in this project.

The name of the block "Rocky Road to Kansas" reminded me of the roads I used to ride my bike on to the school bus stop as well as the roads that led to home for my first 20+ years. They were very rocky roads - living in the country we had no smooth "tar seal" (as we called it) on our roads. Oh no, instead the roads were "paved" with crushed limestone and it was not a tiny crush either. There were many days when the bike was walked/pushed home with me in tears with blood dribbling down one knee or elbow after skidding out and falling on that "rocky road". That recollection brings new meaning to the word "suffragette"!!

Getting back to this weekend; on Saturday morning several of the retreaters left our hotel to go to a quilters "stash reduction" sale. As my stash is already more than substantial I made a conscious decision not to go. But when the shoppers came home and had their show and tell I had to admit to a few pangs. And when Jeanne tumbled out all the fabric she purchased and I saw this wonderful print of big floppy purple chrysanthemums I was bold enough to ask if I could buy it from her. Jeanne was generous enough to give it to me and I used it right away as the center square for this block 8. Thank you Jeanne and also Jean who gifted me with another piece or two that are in the appropriate colorway for this BOW project.

Here I "posed" my block surrounded by the Happy Scrappy Houses which were the retreat blocks. We got 38 blocks turned in so it was decided there would be four winners : the first name drawn won 10 blocks and then three more winners each got nine blocks. And, ta dah, I came home with nine blocks. That was a happy surprise as my name was drawn almost last on each of the three days for the fat quarter giveaway and then again this afternoon for the big prizes.

Stay tuned...I may write more this evening.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Challenge on display

Last year I gathered a group of 13 friends and asked them to join me in a challenge to take an old/vintage block and make a new, 24" x 24" quilt out of it.  We are all enjoying the challenge and are currently working on our fourth block. The challenge is called "The June Bride" and each block project has a title that is something to do with a wedding.

In early October a local church has it's annual Country Fair; as part of that they stage a quilt show in the church. What more fitting location could there be to display the June Bride than in the altar area of the church?

 Space limitations allowed us to hang 28 of the quilts so I had to choose only nine from each of The Bridal Shower and Tuxedo Rental Time which hung on the racks.
 Ten quilts from The Rehearsal Dinner hung on the altar rail.

Below you can see the display board I had to show the vintage blocks that we all started with.

It has been a lot of fun so far to work on this challenge. Right now our block is a red and white basket block and the theme is Baskets for the Bridesmaids.

Monday, October 15, 2012

In a Retreat State of Mind

Coming up this weekend is our guild three day retreat. We have three a year - two of them are what we call "no frills".

No frills means we rent the conference room in a local hotel and set up there for three entire days of sewing fun with friends. No meals or accommodations are provided as part of the retreat fee but you can decide to take a room at the hotel and sleep over for that "away from home experience" but if you'd rather sleep in your own bed then you can go home each night and it is just short drive. There is a snack table set up for which we are all expected to bring something but all meals are also up to us to independently organize. There's lots of restaurants nearby or you can phone up and have food delivered or maybe, to save money, bring food from home.

Lots of sewing gets done, lots of laughs are had and if you don't know how to proceed on your project, why then we'll tell you what to do next! Perhaps because of that last item the two ladies in charge of the retreat decided that the theme this time is "it takes a village to make a quilt". In our handout folder, which we get in advance, were instructions on how to make the retreat block. The idea is that you can make one or two or however many blocks you want (even none if you choose) and bring them to retreat. For each block you make and hand in you put your name on a slip of paper and put it in for the draw. On Sunday afternoon several names are drawn to receive sets of blocks - the number of winners depends on the number of blocks made.

I have made three blocks to take along. While I was making them I thought, well, these are fun to make but I don't really know what I'd do with them if I won them. But this afternoon I had a lightbulb moment and I know precisely what I could do with them. But, until I find out if I am a winner I better not get too excited about it; I don't have a very good track record on winning the retreat blocks.

 The block is based on a pattern by Bonnie K. Hunter (we have her permission to use the pattern) and we were instructed to make the houses bright. Do you think I obeyed the instruction?

In the next couple of days I need to sort out what projects I'm going to take along. Of course my bag of fabrics for the Grandmothers Choice project will be going with me so I can do this weeks block - I'm not sure that I will be able to post the result of that until I get home again. But there is a long list of other current projects that I need to choose from to potentially work on.

If you have never been on a retreat then you are missing out on a lot of fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Block 7 Alice's Flag - The Ratification Banner

The block for this week was one created by Barbara Brackman and Becky to represent the ratification banner that Alice Paul made. Once each state ratified the 19th amendment to the constitution which would allow women equal rights, Alice would sew another star on her banner.

The colors chosen for the banner were, not surprisingly, golden yellow, white and purple. What is not clear - at least to me - is which order they appeared in i.e. was purple on the left or the right?

For my project there will be weeks when I have to just do the best I can to stick with my color scheme while also acknowledging a color that is integral to the block. For this week I found that one of my green prints had yellow in it so that is what I chose to use.

 I was at an all day bee yesterday and pinkdeenster was also there so we spent a bunch of time debating which fabrics to use. When she got home she did what we had decided would look good but I changed mine.

To begin with I thought that since this was a flag block it should use clear strong colors like a flag. But the more I looked at the size those pieces of fabric needed to be cut, the less sure I was about my choices. In hunting through the project bag of fabrics (it is getting very full now) I suddenly spied this purple strip fabric that was in the "maybe" pile beside the bag. In earlier blocks when others have made a similar star to this and used a stripe they have made the strip go the length of the diamond - to me it makes it look like a star fish which I don't really care for. But as I looked at this stripe I wondered what it would look like if I cut it the other way.

It looked pretty good and I got a pentagon effect.

For my map shot I show the rejected fabrics. The medium purple to the left had been one of the flag backgrounds but it got taken out. The very dark rich purple to the bottom edge was going to be the star. But it just did not have enough interest I decided. So it too got thrown into the sea to wash away for the meantime - maybe it will come to shore for some other block.

I do do other sewing and sometimes I even plan to put it on the blog. Maybe this week I might get to some other subjects. It was a three day weekend of quilting this week (Friday Bee,Saturday Sewing and then today a talk and show and tell with Gail Garber) and this coming week will again be a three day full on quilting weekend as I go to our Fall retreat. That means I have to get busy and decide which projects to take to work on; sort out fabrics and make sure I have the right supplies for what I am going to work on. This never happens for those quilters who work on only one project at a time but I invariably have at least six quite active projects at once and another six or so that I could pick up again.

Still, it could be worse. I could be bored and have to resort to watching television or eating chocolate.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Block 6 - Aunt Eliza's Star - Child Custody

While I was reading the post this morning about how children were automatically "given" to the father in separation/divorce situations I knew the fabric in my collection that I had to use as the center piece for this block.

Looking back in my family names both Eliza and Elizabeth pop up; not as aunts but as my grandmothers so I felt there were a lot of connections with the block this week.

And the Eliza and Elizabeth lived in the South Island.

I persevered with the 1/16th inch dimensions for this week and I was very pleased with how my block turned out.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Block 5 New Jersey - Suffrage Pioneer

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Having lived in New Jersey I felt more of a sense of urgency to get this block completed on a timely basis than last weeks visit to Kansas.

I was very excited this morning to choose my fabrics but now it is done I am not sure if there is too much of the pale background fabric or not.

When piecing this I tried hard to be extremely accurate in my stitching. But at the end does it measure the correct size? That would be a no. It is slightly undersize.

And I left the New Zealand map in the box for this block and flipped to the New Jersey page. The Garden State is about more than the NJ Turnpike. The green (as well as being what I use every week!) speaks for all the gardens, trees and open space in that state.

But in explaining my opening sentence...I got the block photo posted on the group page on the flickr site but this week I just cannot seem to get it to appear on the discussion page no matter how often I cut and paste and use square brackets. So I'm heading back out to finish the errands and then I'll have another try later. Needless to say my TD is away from home this weekend.

(TD = Technical Director)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Block 4 Kansas Sunflower

Gee, have you given up on me this week? Yes, this block had it's challenges didn't it.

To begin, a yellow sunflower was just not going to work in my color scheme of green, white and purple. And then there was the delay of  several days while I selected and deselected and reselected which fabrics were going to be used. And then the slow, and not quite steady, sewing. And the final angst over the center.

So this is a bright and cheery field of sunflowers, not quite in Kansas, but this was what I was going to have to achieve in purple, green and white.

 I pulled fabrics. I pulled patterns. I had my circle template out to see how fussy cuts would look.

 By day three this was how I was feeling about this block (the same field only 21 days later). Was it all hopeless and done for or was I going to be able to get this block done?

 With a concerted effort on Monday, I got fabric choices narrowed down and cut so I could not change my mind. And I began the slow process of joining the petals.  There is such a selection as a white sunflower I discovered so this vindicated my petal choice.

 And finally, yes, I took the last stitches this afternoon. There was a flurry of emails back and forth with RCCheryl and Kayellekiwi to "vote" on the final center fabrics.  Please be sure to notice the fussycut white petals - I'm not sure I would bother with that again! Oh, and if you look really closely you might notice a tiny speck of orange-yellow at the center of the violet  that is my "nod" to the Kansas Sunflower color.

I'm not really sure where in New Zealand they might grow sunflowers commercially so I just used this portion of the North Island to host block 4.

 But, I can now say, it is done.

p.s. I have just realized a coincidence. For my center I used fabric kindly sent to me by Cheryl (that pretty violet). For her center she used fabric that I had sent her. That's just another fun aspect of this project.