Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Monday, December 29, 2014

Where Poppies Grow in December

And so we come to the last block for this project, Heavenly Puzzle.

For this last block in the project it was time to dig through the fabrics I had set aside and see what had not yet been used. Sometimes the result of such a search ends up with a mishmash of fabrics that really should not appear together. Such was the case to begin with when I started pulling and cutting fabrics for this block. At the end I had quite a pile of pieces already cut but then discarded (note to self, you had thought to photograph that...oh well. It didn't happen.)

Technical note, the light outside was failing rapidly and I was hurrying to take the photo. Only now am I wondering why my perfectly square block looks skewif.

But with this last block done I now have to get serious about the setting and finishing because I really would like to be able to send my finished quilt to the National World War I Monument in Kansas City to be included in a display there in June, 2015.

 Denniele Bohannon created a lovely project that I have been very touched by and proud to have been able to sew along and make a quilt in memory of my Grandpop, James Patrick Coughlan. Now Grandpop served in the New Zealand Army which was not quite the same as Denniele's Great Grandfather, Almo O'Kell, the subject of the project, who was a medic with Field Hospital  No. 3 of the First Division commanded by General Pershing. But Grandpop and Almo were both fighting for the same cause despite coming from opposite sides of the globe.

 As you know I like to set up a photo showing my block with some appropriate props. Denniele has been very thorough with her project and has already had a book published featuring this project but adding other items with the same inspiration. On my Christmas wish list I included the book and was delighted to be able to unwrap it on Christmas Day and of course it was a natural to include in this post.  I also added a copy of Grandpop's service record along with some poppies and a newspaper cutting...
In a small collection of items hand carried here to me in April when my sister came to visit was this notice, clipped from the local newspaper many years ago, announcing Grandpop's funeral. I thought it might be an appropriate prop to go with the block for this month, "Heavenly Puzzle".

Now I must get busy and create the setting blocks/border to turn this set of blocks into a finished quilt top and ultimately into a finished quilt worthy of being on display on Kansas City.

As they this space!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dixie Diary Debut

Last year a block of the month project from Barbara Brackman that you'll recall I worked on was The Dixie Diary.  Although I had my quilt finished months ago I have been somewhat tardy in showing you that finish. So I'd like to remedy that here and now. Just remember that I'm a quilter first and a photographer second!

I accumulated a goodly amount of grey fabrics while making my BB Civil War quilt "The Blues and the Greys" in 2011 so, in trying to be a thrifty housewife, this Dixie Diary was also designed around using that grey fabric. This time I teamed it with pink because the Dixie Diary is, after all, the diary of a young lady.
The block patterns were given to make a 12" block but I decided to scale the patterns down and make 6" blocks. The setting, spacing the blocks apart and framing each one, would give the individual blocks a chance to shine. Above, the whole block shown is block 2, Checkered Allegiances.

Here I've highlighted block 11, Just Hominy, for you. I will hasten to let you know I quilt by check i.e. the quilting is done by a longarm quilter, Su Gardner of VA Quilting. We decided that as the blocks were somewhat simple we would also quilt them in that way. I had designed the setting to allow lots of open space for the quilting to feature and Su did achieve that I think.
The grey and pink fabrics I selected for my settings are from the Moda Basic Grey collection. Above is my version of  block 12, Turning Yankee.
Here I'm showing you the border and finishing treatment I used. The border was a wide swathe of the pink on white toile fabric I had used as my background in all the twelve blocks. The binding was done in a flanged style using the grey (as the flange) and pink from the setting.
The block patterns as provided were all intended to have a motif appliqued over the center of the block - either a 5 pointed star or a heart. At the six inch size, and having taken considerable effort to both fussy cut my fabrics and sew accurately, I was not feeling so inclined to do this applique. I compromised in an effort to stay true to the designer's intention - two corner blocks have a double heart applique and two have a pieced five pointed star.

You can revisit my experiences in making the Dixie Diary blocks by going back into the 2013 postings on this blog.

I have been waiting for weeks for the weather to co-operate so I could take my photos outside. Today at last was a sunny day but all at once the sun went down and I was in a mad scramble to take the photos. The block above, I can assure you, is perfectly square. The photographer, alas, did not have her camera accurately positioned.

This year I have been working on two "block of the month" projects about which I have been posting here: "Threads of Memory" a Civil War project by Barbara Brackman and "Where Poppies Grow" aka "Remembering Almo" by Denniele Bohannon and Janice Britz to acknowledge the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. With only one block remaining in each project I will soon be hard at work setting those blocks in readiness for quilting.

Hopefully, you'll check back here often to see how they turn out. Surely I will be able to share the finished quilts with you in a little more timely fashion than has happened for The Dixie Diary.  But in the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed seeing my finished quilt, the newly renamed "Sarah's Troubles".

Thursday, December 4, 2014

TOM 11 St Charles Star for Louisa Alexander

We are getting close to the end of the Thread of Memory project with this entry, the St Charles Star. You might recognize it as we have seen at least two earlier blocks that are quite similar.
We have had a few blocks now that have the star appearing to rest on something. For this one several of us making the blocks have taken to saying our star is sitting on a doily.

The challenge for me is again what to do with that big central 4" block. Right back at the beginning I purchased a fat quarter of the grey fabric with big circles of white dots. It seemed too bold to use until this month when I determined that it could provide a new look for the center.

The pattern as given allowed for piecing or appliqueing the "doily"; I decided hand applique would give me the result I wanted even if it was not at the speed I wanted. In addition to the "doily" applique I also needed to applique the center big dot along with my fussy cut of the little bird.

In the end I was quite happy with how my block looks. Of course you need to remember that I am setting the blocks on point.
My helper and I had fun setting up this photo. If you have read the history story behind the block this month you will know that Louisa Alexander escaped her slavery position by hiding under a load of cornshucks in a wagon drawn by oxen. Lacking both the cornshucks and the oxen I decided to make do with a wagon of hay to remind us that Louisa's owner Jim Hollman, was part of a group called "Haystack Secessionists".

This week I have had few reasons to be away from home and thus had expected to be able to take some time with my camera and my quilts. Alas, the weather has been not at all co-operative. But for an escape story the very overcast weather provided a suitable backdrop for my photo set-up.

I better get busy again with the setting blocks - they were started several weeks back but have been untouched since early November and I want this quilt top finished by early January to go to the longarm quilter.