Friday, September 30, 2011

Just One Quilt and Some Books

In my last post I said I would share three finished quilts in my next post. Only the quilt for my niece’s baby is ready to share. I’m busy with another project – more about that later. As usual I think I can do more than I can. Oh, well. This one is finished! I’m sending it out to California with a puzzle for big brother.

See my Penny there in the background on the left. She turned 14 last Friday and I forgot about it until Saturday. I don’t think she noticed. ; c ) She has slowed down a lot, but she has moments like yesterday when she runs out the door with Duke and Len chasing squirrels and chipmunks.

New books for my quilting library-

I usually keep a wish list of books and when one of the kids needs a book I order one or two to get the free shipping from Amazon. At least I’ve delayed my gratification!

I LOVE History Repeated. All the quilts are gorgeous and photographed so well. I was a bit hesitant to order this because I really don’t need another pattern book. I like books I can read and I usually don’t follow quilt patterns anyway. There are two things about this book I thought were a bit different and a plus. Because the book is based on a 19th century block exchange group they show more than one quilt for each block. The settings are different which sometimes totally changes the look of the quilt. Also, for each block exchange they provide information on their fabric selection limitations. “We used 1880s and earlier reproduction fabrics in brown, blue, indigo, Prussian blue, Perkins purple, pink, Turkey red and green as well as light and medium shirtings and conversational prints. All participants used the same cheddar fabric. We did not use poison greens, neons, clarets, chrome yellows or cadet blues.” I’ll have to research Perkins purple. This description provides more limitations than most. I thought this feature was very helpful. My only complaint is the cover material – it doesn’t seem very sturdy. I keep flipping through this book so I’m thinking maybe I should take it to a copy shop and have it spiral bound and plastic covers added.

I read about Great Little Quilts on Dawn’s blog Collector with a Needle. I was a little disappointed with the condition of the book, but it is full of lovely little quilts. Obviously, it is used – thought I chose one that was in “very good” condition. Not only is the dust cover messed up; the binding looks like it is chewed a little. The books pages are fine which I guess is what matters most.

I found this treasure at the library books sale. Crib Quilts and Other Small Wonders by Woodard and Greenstein is chockfull of quilts. Look at this – 6 on one double page spread and there are pages and pages like this!

More books from the library sale-

And a Japanese Quilt magazine –

I’m preparing to do a demo at the next Springfield QU meeting. I’m sharing Gyleen Fitzgerald’s Pineapple Ruler. I blogged about it here and here. There are three other people demonstrating three other rulers and it is being done round robin style. I’m so glad I started preparing this week because I need to have enough blocks in the various stages to show four groups. They are fun to do, but not real fast. The binding on the other two quilts will have to wait.

Hope you find some stitching time this weekend.

Monday, September 26, 2011

2011 Sully Quilt Show

The Sully Quilt Show was originally scheduled for September 11th. Despite the fact that it was a beautiful day, it was cancelled because we had several inches of rain the previous week. Since the show is outside and we park on the grass it was rescheduled to the 25th.  Well, it rained last week and today was a little misty but the show was on! I haven’t been in several years. Not sure why as I thoroughly enjoyed myself today. The vendors are a mix of repro and modern fabrics, vintage fabrics, sewing accessories and quilts. As you walk in from the entrance this is what you see-

Just as I remembered – Bellwether Dry Goods was right at the front. They sell beautifully hand quilted quilts at very reasonable prices. They are coming to the McLean chapter of QU in October. I’ve seen their trunk show before and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

These are bowtie blocks - not sure I've seen this setting before.

Piecing The Past--

Piecing The Past is one of my favorite vendors. Donna is very knowledgeable and helpful. She specializes in 19th century reproduction fabrics, patterns and books. She will be at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Virginia in February.

A vendor specializing in antiques--

My eyes were drawn to the basket quilt with the brown setting squares (count up 3 photos - bottom, right). I thought it was reasonably priced and I've been resisting the urge to start a basket quilt. I really have no business purchasing antique quilts at this time. We are in that awkward phase with grown children who are full or part time at home. Them and their STUFF! And then there is this curious fellow-

So far he has just nibbled a little on 2 quilts I don’t really care that much about. One I made out of the kerchiefs Penny and Duke come home in when they are groomed. It lines Duke’s crate. The other is the family room throw about quilt. Believe me – I gave him what for when I found these chews. Fortunately, he hasn't touched the other quilts in his reach.

The Sully Quilt Show takes place annually at Sully Plantation- part of the Fairfax County Park Authority. The show consists of vendors, a house tour and members of Quilters Unlimited demonstrating hand piecing and quilting. 

Here is a description of Sully Plantation from their website – “An oasis of the past, Sully reflects the history of Fairfax County. Completed in 1799 by Richard Bland Lee, the main house at Sully combines aspects of Georgian and Federal architecture. Richard Bland Lee was Northern Virginia's first Representative to Congress, as well as General Robert E. Lee's uncle.”

On previous visits I hadn't taken the time to tour the house. This time I did. Since the show was originally scheduled for 9/11 they had an antique patriotic quilt in each room. Included were centennial and bicentennial applique quilts and my favorite, a c. 1900 lemoyne star quilt pieced with red, white and blue strings. No photos allowed.

The house and demo tent--

The door prize--

Shucks! I didn’t get a call from them so I guess I didn’t win. It was a vintage top donated by the Haymarket chapter of Quilters Unlimited and quilted by Springfield QU member Diane Henry.

What’s happening with my projects? I’m sewing binding for 3 quilts. Yay! They will be my next post.

Have a great week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I think I know how I want to stitch these together, but I’d like to get your opinion. Do you like the two blocks on the left with the sashing strips or the two on the right with just the hsts or do you have a suggestion for something else? I’ve made 250 1” hsts. I’m putting them aside because I have other projects that need tending to. Three quilts need machine quilting – the triangle quilt, the churndash and a little table topper. You’ve seen the first two.

Two women at my church made the table topper for the auction in November. They asked me to machine quilt it for them. I’ll show it when I’m finished. The last time I machine quilted something for them it ended up in the Quilter to Quilter section of the Nov/Dec 2010 edition of McCall’s Quilting. It was quite a surprise.

I feel like I have so many projects competing for my attention. I also finished appliqueing the hexagon flowers to the background blocks. So the hexagon and star quilts will be my carrot to entice me to finish my machine quilting projects.

The floodwaters I showed in my previous post only lasted a couple of hours at the most. I guess it was a flashflood. By Friday afternoon the sun was out and we had a beautiful weekend.

Saturday morning I found these at a yard sale-

Our temps fell into the 60's this afternoon. It feels so good. I’m ready for fall!

Friday, September 9, 2011

UFO Breakthrough

I first blogged about these Morningstar blocks here. I think I have a new plan. I was browsing through Liz’s blog Quilterie and found a setting I love. It's the first quilt in the Sept. 13th post. I don’t know if it will work with these blocks. If not, I’ll just surround each star block with hst’s and hope I can do it so it is relatively flat.   

I looked this star block up in Jinny Beyer’s Album of Patchwork Patterns and she lists 15 different names for it! 

I’m paper piecing the hst's with Thangles. While I have been on a hst kick, this one has sort of been assigned. This years McLean QU challenge is to make a quilt with at least 200 hst. At first there was a size limit, but then that rule was relaxed. Off hand I don’t remember the size limit, but I’m pretty sure I’ll meet the original challenge.

I’ve also been stitching hexagon blocks and have just 7 more to go and I can piece the top. I’ve been stitching one a day. The back for the churndash quilt is done. I'll baste that sometime next week.

I’ve spent a couple hours a day for the past 3 days painting the trim in our kitchen. We have a lot of trim! There are six entryways to this room. One is a bathroom just off the eating area (I know – Ugh – must have been designed by a man). We are painting the bathroom too and while taking the wallpaper off the wall near the toilet my husband found rotting drywall. The toilet has been leaking (and I thought the men in my house just had bad aim!) so we need to replace the drywall and the laminate flooring. Off to Home Depot we went!

The basket and board were my barricade to keep Len out of the kitchen while I painted. Lucky for me (and Len) he’s on dirty laundry.

Such a sleepy pup!

A shot of our side yard late yesterday afternoon.

And in front of our house looking across the street. We’ve been here over 20 years and have never seen it like this. Luckily my neighbor came home in time to move his truck. That is firewood in the water.

And look at his side yard. Amazingly, he didn’t have any water in the house. No, I did not take this photo! My husband grabbed an umbrella and my camera - any excuse to go play in the water. No use telling him it's dangerous.

We had 10-12 inches of rain over 4 days. The floor in the unfinished portion of our basement was a little damp. That was it - the sump pump did its job.

The dogs thought it was something, too! The only thing moving is Duke’s tail.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Churn Dash for Audrey

A finished top! 42" x 48" This is the churn dash I started in the spring for my niece’s baby. The nursery is black, white and pink. This looks more red than pink. Not what I planned, but I’m going with it. I plan to do meander quilting with variegated black and white thread. Audrey’s first birthday is on Halloween so I hope to send it to her before then. For some reason I have a hard time making a quilt for a baby who isn’t born yet so I always give myself a first birthday goal. I wasn’t expecting to work on this top last weekend, but I switched gears. I started quilting the triangle quilt (74" x 86"), but even just doing a wavy line caused my arms to hurt. Quilts seem to grow when I start machine quilting them. I started with the even feed foot. I wasn’t happy with it so tried free motion. That wasn’t any better. I know quilters do king size quilts in their domestic machines but it just wasn’t happening for me. I thought about it for a day and decided it wasn’t worth the pain. I’ve had issues with carpal tunnel and tendonitis in the past. A few years ago I went to a wonderful physical therapist who worked with me on my posture. In the past, PTs had worked my elbows, but she also worked on my back and while it hurt it was a good hurt and after a few months I felt so much better. My PT recommended a massage therapist, so poor me goes once every 2 weeks. ; c ) She, too, is a miracle worker. I still get aches and pains, but I recover much more quickly. In years past there were months when no stitching happened because it was too painful. Anyway, after doing just 4 lines of machine quilting on the triangle quilt my arms hurt enough that I felt I needed to stop. I put heat on them and after a couple of days I felt fine, but I don’t want this to take forever. So I’m picking out the quilting and I’m going to do straight lines. Even that can get a little awkward with a big quilt, but just guiding it and not having to maneuver it will make a big difference. I’m hoping.

We are taking wallpaper down in the kitchen. It was 20 years old and looking it. The inset photo is the wallpaper and molding. I chose that color on the molding to go with the curtains – in a heap in the background photo. I matched the blue in the curtain to a paint chip and then went a few shades lighter. Maybe not an obvious choice, but yellow was already used in my foyer and living room and I didn’t want to go with pink or white. I still love the curtains so I’m thinking of putting this “English hyacinth” color (or something close) on the walls and an off white for the trim.

Senior year starts for my youngest on Tuesday. He had his senior photo taken last week. Here he is (on the left) with a longtime friend in their fake tuxedos. They’ve known each other since they were 2 years old and their sisters were in the same Brownie troop.

How about this “cheddar” pumpkin? I wonder if it will get darker as the season passes. This pumpkin is in a front yard around the corner from us. I pass it often as I walk the dogs. Just 2 weeks ago it was the size of a grapefruit and I would already classify it as huge!

I’m almost done with The Count of Monte Cristo. I started it at the beginning of summer and really put a push on it this past week. It is good, but at almost 1500 pages I wouldn’t call it a good summer read!

I was asked to work at the Jinny Beyer Studio during the area shop hop Quilters’ Quest in November. I know a few of the gals who work there from my quilt guild. How cool is that?

We’ve had some beautiful weather here for August. Well, other than the hurricane last weekend. There was storm damage in the area, but for us it dropped some much needed rain. This weekend I plan to get started on painting the kitchen, attend the crab feast at our community pool, finish reading The Count and, of course, do a little stitching. ; o ) Hope you have a great weekend!