Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

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.