Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Over the weekend I basted and machine quilted the 2 children quilts for donation. I'm now sewing on the bindings.  I did a meander on the quilt going to Japan. I just did a stitch in the ditch for the quilt going to the neonatal intensive care unit.  I seem to remember Carolina, the gal who collects these, saying too much stitching or seams can be irritating to these babies. I hope to finish these 2 in the evenings and finish piecing the shoofly this weekend.

I also basted my midnight stars. The more I look at this, the more I love it. I now have it laying on top of our piano so I can admire it as I pass by. I'm so glad Lori shared this with us.
I'm going to hand quilt this one. Do you think I basted it close enough - about 3 1/2" apart? I thought about adding more but I left it like this because I needed to clear the table for dinner!
I'm using a wool batt. It seems to be easier on my hand, wrist and elbow. Needles - I've been using Piecemakers because other brands break on me. However, while the Piecemakers don't break, they do bend and that affects my stitches. I like a small needle - size 12. It just feels more comfortable and I feel like I have more control. Do you have a favorite brand?

Here are some close ups of the hovering hawks quilt. After posting about it last week I thought I should have provided closeups.  I love these calicos. I can't believe I didn't notice the pattern made with the pinks until AFTER posting! The quilter outlined each triangle and also quilted circles in the large diamonds. They are hard to see, I think, because she used a very thin batt.
 This broken dishes unit is 6"

 These units are 2"
I decided to measure the whole quilt and edit my previous post with that information and noticed a triangle has been replaced. I came back to these photos and notice that I just happened to capture it here.  I obviously haven't really looked at this quilt! I'll check it more closely and see what other surprises I can find.

Poor Duke has had a time dealing with this youngun. He gamely plays with Len, but there are times when the look in his eyes say "I've had enough". Duke was innocently standing by the door waiting to be let out when Len walked between his legs and said "me first". Yes, my dogs "talk"!
Len strikes a pose and Duke says "look what I have to put up with".

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Red and White Cake Stand and Broken Dishes

16" x 22"
I made this last night. It was so fun to put together. But guess what!?! It is too long for the space I planned to put it on my kitchen wall. Oh, well. I think if I rearrange things I will find a place for it. I'll share that when it is completely finished.

I used my Easy Angle ruler for the half square triangles. Don't remember if I've mentioned how much I love this ruler. For a 2 1/2" hst, you cut strips 2 1/2" wide - no 2 7/8".

Do I add or chop...
 I decided to add, but it needed something...

Rick Rack!
 Vertical, too?
 Decided not. What do you think?
The Rick Rack I used is poly, but the perfect color. I don't remember what I bought it for.

Here are some old packages I must have picked up at a yard sale.

 This Rick Rack is so teeny tiny - less than 1/4". I don't know how I'll ever use it.

Love these colors.

Check out these blogs for more Red and Whites...

Alex Anderson and Ricky Tim's

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

For Japan

I decided to add some color to these shoofly blocks. I'm not sure how big I'll make this - probably 5x7 blocks with a border. As I make this, I see it going to an older japanese woman, though I believe it could appeal to anyone.

If you are interested in a chance to win a beautiful quilt while helping with the Japanese and Pacific relief efforts of the Red Cross please check out Merumo's post. Do so soon, drawing is March 26th.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A New Look for Spring

Thanks to my daughter, my blog has a new look. Any help out there on centering the banner?

71 1/2" x 73"
This is the quilt in the banner photo. I bought it at the Sully Quilt Show several years ago. The information they gave me says – Double pink, blue and yellow calico “lady of the lake” Snyder Co., PA c. 1875-90 72”x78”. Actually, I think the pattern is “hovering hawks”.

I was inspired by Cheryl at Sew Many Quilts, So Little Time! to do some quilting for others this weekend. I pulled out something I started cutting for at a guild meeting last year. It was so simple; I completed a top last night and just need to put borders on another (and baste and quilt them, too, but finishing a top always gives me a sense of accomplishment!).

 about 37" square
will be 37" when borders are added

To give people ideas for easy and cute patterns someone at the Springfield chapter gave out a set of instructions. The first step was to cut two 15” squares from both a light and a dark fabric. Layer a light and a dark, right sides together. Draw diagonal lines and stitch  ¼” on both sides of the line. Cut the square north/south, east/west, and on the diagonal lines. Press toward dark. Do again for the second pair and you have 16 half square triangles (hst). It is a good thing I took the time to square up the blocks to 7”. There are so many ways to set these hst.

Good thing I made double the blocks. Janet at Quiltsalott made an appeal for making quilts for Japan. You can also find information from Bonnie at Quiltville. So one quilt will go to Japan and one will go to the neonatal intensive care unit at a local hospital.

I might also do something with these blocks that I received years ago in a swap.

Japan holds a unique place in my heart. I have to admit, it isn’t the first place in the world I would want to visit, but all three of my children studied the language in high school. My daughter has gone a little further and is studying it in college along with graphic design. She has visited the country twice and we just found out a few weeks ago that she won a scholarship from the U.S. State Department to spend June and July at a university in Kyoto. So far we haven’t heard of any change in plans. Of course, our main concern is for the people in Japan who have been touched by this tragedy.

I’ve read two books about Japan and found each of them very entertaining. Both are about modern day travelers. Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Karin Muller and Dave Barry Does Japan by Dave Barry.

This is the quilt I used for my background the last few months. I made it using the Square in a Square ruler. It is twin size. I used some of the bonus triangles in my Northwinds quilt.

I think I’ve settled on a red and white quilt design. I have about 15” of wall space over the sliding glass doors in my kitchen. I had a tray, plates and crocheted pot holders displayed there. A couple of years ago I moved the tray and it left an empty space. I thought, oh, I’ll make a little quilt for that space and here we are – years later and the empty space is still there. It needs to be filled and a little red and white quilt would look just right. I’m thinking a pieced basket and border. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stitching for the dogs

At Len’s feet is a quilt I made for him using some horribly faded curtains. To make the quilt, I just removed the tabs and inserted left over batting (you know, the 6 or so inches left over from other projects) between the curtain and the liner. I didn’t bother stitching the batting strips together first – it is for a dog, after all. Then I machine quilted some diagonal lines. It will stay in his crate – hopefully, he won’t eat it.

I have a large collection of worn out jeans  - think 5 people over the past 25 years! I hate to throw any sort of fiber away (surprised!?!). I’ve had all sorts of ideas – bags (haven’t started), quilts (just some blocks cut so far). Finally, I’ve done something – a dog bed.

I started last fall - just need to put it together.
I used the legs for the top (see how they are tapered) and sides and a piece of decorator fabric for the bottom (or I guess the dec fabric could be the top). 
I'm using scraps for the stuffing. Bag on the left is full of t-shirt scraps. Bag on the right is full of bits of fabric too small for a crumb block, selvages, small strips of batting, etc. I'm using a piece of tightly woven muslin to make a pillow insert. Do you think this will be a  huge mess when I wash it? I figure I will have to check the lint trap often.
pillow insert 

My stuffing wasn’t quite big enough so I made another quilt like the one I made for Len (that takes care of half the curtain and a noticeable amount of scrap batting) and put it inside – a zipper is on the back side of the bed. 

Penny tests it out.

I’ve also been mending the colonial popcorn spread, stitching hanging sleeves onto show quilts and started my little pin cushion-
It is Small Token from Blackbird Designs.

My daughter is home for spring break and she is keeping me very busy. On Sunday we went downtown to the National Archives and the Portrait Gallery.
 National Archive Building
 Portrait Gallery

On Monday we visited a thrift shop where my daughter hit the jackpot. Unfortunately, a couple of items require alterations and guess who she wants to do them. I told her she at least has to watch and help.

I visited 3 chapters of Quilters Unlimited this week to sign up volunteers for the quilt show in June. I visited 3 other chapters last week! It is very interesting going to different chapter meetings- they each have their own personality. One was very chatty. The guest speaker was first on the agenda and I thought they were being kind of rude, but then they continued chatting while the president and everyone else spoke so I guess it is just their way.

I’m very excited about our show this year. We have almost 700 quilts and wearables entered. The show is not judged or juried. I love this. It gave me a lot of confidence as a new quilter to see quilts hung that I felt I could have made and to see quilts I could aspire to and in some cases be in awe of. Members of QU can enter up to 6 quilts. I entered 4 – the pink and brown 9-patch snowball, the string, northwinds, and the puppy dog quilt my daughter helped me with.

I’m thinking of making a little red and white quilt since I not going to the American Folk Art Museum show in NYC the end of the month. Does anyone else feel compelled to do this?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition

Mt. Vernon, Virginia

A friend invited me to go with her to the Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition today and I’m so glad she did. There were only a couple of small quilts, but I was amazed at some of the other needlework – cross stitch, crewel, needlepoint, ribbon work, Japanese embroidery, hardanger and more.

 A woman making bobbin lace greeted us at the entrance.
Edit- I should have said more about this. The woman said it is really easy to do. She is only moving 4 bobbins at a time. The pattern is underneath all those pins.

Unfortunately photos of the exhibit were not allowed.

We had a scrumptious lunch served by Nelly's Needlers in the tearoom. They are a service organization dedicated to the preservation of Woodlawn. Woodlawn was built 1800-1805 on land George Washington gave to his nephew, Lawrence Lewis, and Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Eleanor (Nelly) Park Custis, at the time of their marriage.

My friend and I were very inspired – me with the cross stitch and my friend with the Japanese embroidery. We stopped on our way home at the needlework shop, In Stitches Needlework, located a short distance from Woodlawn. A very nice woman helped me pick out this floss and linen to make this little pin cushion. Not that I need another project, but at least this one is very small and I have done cross stitch before -though never on linen.

Other than chasing Len the beagle and attending chapter meetings to sign up volunteers for the quilt show in June, I have been doing a little of this and a little of that...

These 4 blocks were made a loooong time ago in a class using Marti Michell templates. As I recall the first one was the best one as far as puckers, but now they all look equally puckered to me. They should measure 12” but are just over 11”. Not sure why I never did anything with them other than the fact that I knew they were not constructed well. About a year ago I started thinking of doing a 4-block quilt with an appliquéd border, but as with many of my appliqué ideas nothing happened.

They came to mind recently when I was thinking of these young orphans – the first 2 blocks of the Barbara Brackman Civil War block of the week project.

Could I combine them and add more blocks to create a big, scrappy star block quilt?

I think I can.

I’m so proud of this little LeMoyne Star I made a couple of nights ago. It is pretty flat and measures 6 ½”, as it should. I think I succeeded at this one for a few reasons other than just more experience. My Bernina grabs the fabric better than my old machine and I feel like it just gives me a better stitch. Also, the Lemoyne star doesn’t have as many pieces as the Morning Star (as the block was called in the class) and I took my time making it. I used the instructions that came with the templates and thought – gee; they should include a little more detail and give pressing instructions. The following morning I searched the templates online and the companion books popped up. Oh, I have that. It is pretty bad when you have so much you don’t remember what you have! I pulled the book out (at least I knew where to look for it and it was there) and yes, very detailed instructions on the stars and more.

The pineapple blocks created a lot of little scraps so I made 23 more 4” crumb blocks.

I did a blanket stitch around one of the hexagons and decided I like it. I like it better in person than in the photo. Next time I need to do what I know needs to be done and stabilize the flower before stitching so the background doesn’t pucker.

Look what I found in my yard this morning. Do they look puckered to you?