Monday, April 27, 2015

The Long and Winding Road ...

... to Paducah

Actually, it's neither long, nor winding if I take I-24.  Just under 3 hours.

With THE Cold hanging on, I still felt well enough to make the trip up on Tuesday, as planned.  However, I did not feel well enough to take a lot of pictures ... sorry.  But here's a brief travelog.

I headed straight to the Rotary Club which always has a well-curated exhibit of antique quilts -- this year it was hexies grouped by style.  From there I headed down to the AQS books in the Finkel Building which is close to Tribeca, where I met The Girls for lunch.  After lunch we went to the Expo Center to pick up credentials, then a quick stop at Calico Creations to pick up some chairs my friends had purchased.  After that I was done wasted for the day so I returned to our cabin at Kentucky Dam State Park.

Wednesday saw us at the Expo Center bright and early for the show opening.  I bought the Aurifil thread pack I had gone for, looked at the exhibits of small quilts, and headed for the large hall.  Just too many people packed into one place -- I don't do well in crowds, especially when I'm not feeling well.  So I headed off to Hancocks of Paducah and returned to the cabin. By then I had pretty much lost my voice entirely.

Thursday I had an early lecture -- Gerald Roy, Women's Work is Never Done.  What a great hour of spectacular antique quilt tops!  After a brief stop in the Bubble to visit a couple of vendors, I wandered down to the National Quilt Museum.  The exhibits there were some of the best in recent years, especially the "New Quilts from an Old Favorite" nine-patch quilts, both antique and modern interpretations.  I wandered on downtown to visit some of my favorite vendors and stopped at one of the antique stores on Broadway where they were selling fabric at $3/yard. Finally I made a quick stop at Eleanor Burns place in the old firehouse.

Before heading to Eleanor's I popped back into the Expo Center main exhibit hall to get a view of Kevin the Quilter's entry, Radar.

"Radar" pieced by Kevin Huffman, quilted by Ann McNew
It's a very big quilt!  And really well done.  Congratulations, Kevin, on being accepted into such a prestigious show!

The drive home on Friday was truly long and winding as I took The Trace through Land Between the Lakes and the back roads home from there.

So how much damage did I do?  Hmmm .... one pattern, two books, six spools of Aurifil thread, a seam guide for my Featherweight, a Siesta Silver charm to go on my Pandora bracelet,  and **** yards of fabric!  Oh, you missed that?  45 yards of fabric.  Had I not fallen for a kit at Primitive Gatherings, I think I would have been more in line.  Most of what I purchased has a purpose (at least in my mind, anyway).

A collection of neutral FQs that have already been cut into strips for Butterscotch,

Neutral FQs
... more strippy fabrics for table runners I'll be giving to the caregivers this year,

Future table runners

... and an assortment of grays and greens, destined for a new quilt for Son-2 and DIL, assuming I've got the green right....

Grays and Greens

The kit and a wide back are in line to be laundered today.   Hmmm, even considering the kit it doesn't look like 45 yards, does it?  Maybe I should remeasure .....  In the meantime I'll use that number for the weekly stash report.

Weekly Stash Report - April 27, 2015
     In last week:                       45.0 yards
     Out last 2 weeks:                  0.0 yards
     In year to Date:                 96.25 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:             31.75 yards
     Net Used 2015                  64.50 yards (red means more in than out)

I don't anticipate any finishes this week, but next week's retreat should yield a lot of finishes for me.

Linking up with Patchwork Times

Sunday, April 19, 2015


THE Cold

You know the one ... you've had it or know someone who has.

It starts with a little soreness in the back of the throat that morphs into a chest-rattling cough.  Then the sneezes so big they give you a headache.  Followed by a head full of ..... well, you get the picture.

So far no fever or aches, so I've been able to get a little accomplished, but certainly not what I had anticipated for the week.  You know how it is when you're not up to "snuff" ... it's hard to concentrate, difficult to even think about finishing a task, much less starting a new one.

In a way this turned out to be a benefit.  Not feeling like facing any of the projects currently underway, but wanting to sew, I decided to make some neutral string blocks.  So I raided the scrap bag I keep next to the cutting table to see if I had any strips suitable for strings.  This involved dumping the bag and reviewing the contents, pressing some of it, sorting all of it into either strings, stuff I might use sometime, and pieces to give to a friend, then trashing pieces too small to use.

That exercise didn't yield much in the way of neutrals, but I could see potential strings lurking in the piles on my work table.  And while I'm going through the piles, I might as well put large pieces back on the shelf ... smaller chunks in their designated-by-color shoeboxes ... and strips into their proper drawer ....

Guess what?  Before I knew it, I had a clear work surface!

Looking for someplace to go
If I could only find a place for the project boxes on the floor in front of it, I might be able to do some of the things I complain about not being able to do at home -- like measure for borders.  What a concept!

Yes, I did get some string blocks made.

6-1/2" String Blocks
I don't have a plan other than keeping papers handy so I can make more blocks as I generate strings, maybe as leaders and enders (L/E).

I took some of my "down" time to sort through my Butterscotch box to see what units I had already made and what I might be able to do with the rest of the box.  My purpose being to generate a stack for L/E.  Turns out I had quite a few 4-patches made and plenty of 2-1/2" strips cut in both neutral and butterscotch to make a bunch more. 

So I quickly stitched up strip sets, cut the chunks, and stitched 4 patch units which I added to 4-1/2" neutral squares and then stitched into large 4-patch units.

So much for leaders and enders .... 

Actually, I needed to know how many I could get from what was already cut so I could calculate how many pinwheels I need for the alternate blocks.

I have cut more of the strips into HSTs and THESE will be my new L/E project and ultimately they will go into this. 

Currently calculated to be about 60" x 75", I might add borders or just stop; the quilt will tell me what to do.  I have identified several possible border fabrics in my stash so it will not require a purchase.

That's what on my design wall today.  Though I definitely accomplished more than I might have under the conditions last week, still nothing I can count as complete so no changes to the stash status.  Hoping to have a few days in Paducah at the AQS show this week, then I need to address an old project that needs to be completed for a lecture in May.  More about that next week.

To see what other quilters are up to, hop over to Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

PS: Speaking of Paducah, no doubt there will be some additions to the stash report next week!  If you're going to be in Paducah, let me know and I'll try to hook up with you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Happy Birthday ...

... to ME!

70 years ago on this date -- a Saturday -- in St. Somebody's Hospital in Buffalo, NY, I came into the world a little after 1 a.m.  My mother was disappointed I wasn't born on Friday the 13th!  I don't know if that would have been a good thing or a bad thing ....

If I remember my history correctly, Lincoln was shot on this date and the Titanic hit the iceberg.

Oh, and Connie at Free Motion by the River shares my birthday.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Whirlwind Weekend

 ... to Richmond, IN and Back

One thing I rarely mention here -- maybe never, actually -- is my interest in antique quilts.

I became interested in antique quilts about 25 years ago when I was dabbling in living history as a Civil War reenactor .... something else I've probably never mentioned here ....

Anyway, I began looking at 19th century quilts to see what types of prints would be appropriate for my dresses.  Fortunately for reenactors, about that time Marcus Bros began producing 19th century reproduction fabrics.  I later became interested in quilting as an appropriate activity for a middle-aged woman in the 19th century, so knowing what types of quilts were being made at the time was critical to my "persona" (which, by the way, was that of a Unionist laying low among Southern sympathizers).

Even though I have "outgrown" reenacting -- read that, too old to do the work -- I have not lost my interest in antique quilts.  My trip to Richmond over the weekend was to attend a meeting of the Midwest Fabric Study Group.  The topic was "What was she thinking?"  For over an hour the members showed and talked about all sorts of wonky quilts they had brought with them.  Most were just merely "interesting," but two had us all exclaiming "What WAS she thinking!"

Broken Dishes
This top was huge, made up of half-square and quarter-square triangles.  The individual units finished about 1 inch!  The fabrics covered several decades.  What a great study piece!

And then there was this one ...

Boston Commons or Trip Around the World
Unremarkable until you discover the tiny squares were cut at 3/4".  Insane!!!  The top came with a box of the squares already prepared and strung on thread.  I was impressed with the organization of the colors, too, very much like a blooming 9-patch.

After we ate lunch we went to the Wayne County Historical Society Museum to see a few of the quilts in their collection.  Take a look at these impressive beauties.

Home-woven woolens
The "orange" fabric is really more red.  The construction of the star points was a bit unusual.  The borders, which I didn't photograph, were different plaids on just two sides.

Orange and pink -- late 19th century
Yes, that really IS orange!  Paired with pink.  Who'd a thunk it?

Woolen log cabin
Love, love, love the plaids!!

We didn't stop at any quilt shops, so no fabric added.  I did finish a log cabin triangle top (5 yds) and made two wide backs (4.5 yds) for quilts I took to the long-arm quilter.

This week I'll be finishing up Lavender and Lime and the Disappearing 9-Patch.  I wrote about these here and wrote a tutorial here.  Check it out!

Weekly Stash Report - April 13, 2015
     In last 2 weeks:                    0.0 yards
     Out last week:                      9.5 yards
     In year to Date:                 51.25 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:             31.75 yards
     Net Used 2014                  19.50 yards (red means more in than out)

Linking up with Patchwork Times

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Disappearing 4-Patch Tutorial ...

... Libby's Version

Yesterday I reported on my progress with these Disappearing 4-Patch blocks.

Disappearing 4-Patch

There are many online sources for making the D4P.  I used Jenny Doan's method (Missouri Star Quilt Co.), but was frustrated that my seams didn't "nest" after the pieces were rearranged.  I thought I had figured out a solution, but then realized I was essentially rearranging virtually all the pieces.  Thinking there must be a simpler approach, I put some thought to it.

So here you have it:  The basic concept is to start with a 4-patch ...

Basic 4-Patch
My squares were 4" to start, but this technique works with any size square.  Then cuts are made an equal distance from each side of the intersecting seams.  I made my cuts at 1".

Cut 1" away from each seam
Jenny (and many others) has you then switch the corner squares left and right, and turn the little 4-patch center a quarter turn. The block is then reassembled like a 9-patch.

From 4-patch to 9-patch
But here's the rub:  I "spin" my center seam like Bonnie Hunter does.

It doesn't matter how many times I turn that center, the seams on the 2-patch rectangles (numbered 1 though 4 in the picture below) always go in the same direction as the center because they were just cut off that center 4-patch!

I much prefer to have my seams go in opposite directions so that they nest together whenever possible.  My Solution:

Simply reverse the positions of rectangles 1/3 and rectangles 2/4!!  Everything else stays in the same position and the seams will go in opposite directions.

This is not an original thought.  I saw a couple of tutorials on Pinterest that suggested switching the rectangles instead of the corner squares, but they didn't focus on the benefit if you spin the 4-patch seams.  I reckon if you are in the habit of pressing seams in one direction this benefit is irrelevant, but switching the rectangles involves moving only 4 pieces instead of 5!

Let me know if you've found this tip helpful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Lied ... Sort Of ...

But first, a celebration (or two)!

Winter Snow flimsy is finished! 
Winter Snow
I already had it folded and ready to mail before I remembered to take a picture -- hence the creases.  This is a sample for a class I'll be teaching at Susan's Calico Creations in Fulton, IL on June 7.  If you live in that area, give Susan a call at 815-589-2221 and get the details for the class.  We'll be working on variations of log cabin triangles with a couple of options for small projects to learn on.

Second, I was featured on  Free Motion by the River Linky Tuesday.  Thanks, Connie!

Log Cabin Triangles Table Topper
Now, the lie -- in Monday's post I boldly stated that "Butterscotch" would be my next leader/ender project.  Turns out it needs a little more thought and planning -- and a design wall which has been occupied with other things the last few days.

So I grabbed a box labeled "Lavender and Lime" and discovered not one, not two, but THREE potential L/E projects!  Take a look ...

Mary's Triangles
First, there was an assortment of Mary's Triangle blocks made from remnants of another project, already organized into rows.  I have been assembling the rows as L/Es while making Disappearing 4-Patches from a collection of these ...
Fluorescent lighting turns the purple blue
... also made from remnants of that previous project -- I think I may have finally outgrown my love of purple and lime!!  Anyway, the result ...

Disappearing 4-Patch Blocks
I went to Jenny Doan's You-Tube demo to refresh my memory on how to make these.  While I love her tutorials for so many interesting twists on traditional blocks, I think she glosses over the importance of pressing.  So if you want to know more, tune in tomorrow when I'll do a little tute of my own.

See April 9 post for my solution!

Oh, the third L/E project?  It's more Mary's Triangles in black and blue.  It looks like I need to do a little cutting before those blocks can be finished.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 6, 2015


What a few weeks it's been...

... first, the weather.  In the last three weeks we've gone from extremes of 30s to 80s, sometimes in the course of a single day.  Remember when it was too cold in the basement for me to sew just a couple of weeks ago?  Now I retreat to the basement to cool down!  (Granted, part of my discomfort is that we keep the main level warmer than we'd want for MIL's benefit.  At 94 she doesn't have much fat left to insulate her!)

Then Friday we went from sunshine to tornadoes in a matter of minutes.  Fortunately our only damage was a downed limb which, even more fortunately did not fall on the sitter's car.

Storm Damage
I suffered whiplash in the sewing room, as well, using UFOs as leader-enders between my log cabin triangle progress.  I've gone from bright stars ....

Happy Talk, in progress an extremely traditional 4-patch ...

Classic 4-Patch, in progress
... all while churning out log cabin triangles ...

Winter Snow from Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin

None of these projects is completely finished, so there is nothing to report in fabric usage this week.  I will finish the Winter Snow top today and get it on it's way to Susan at Calico Creations in Fulton, IL along with the table topper I finished last week.

Table Topper

Happy Talk and Classic 4-patch will have to wait till the next retreat in early May as they have both gotten to the point where I need space to layout and measure for borders.

My next leader-ender project will be something I call butterscotch because of the colors in the fabrics.  I'm thinking it will be a combination of 4-patches and pinwheels.  It will be the second one out of these fabrics; the first I donated to the 2010 Nashville flood victims.  That tells me how old that UFO is .....

Oh, one more whiplash ... from bare trees to blossoms, just in time for Easter.

Happy Spring, Everyone!!

Hop on over to Patchwork Times to see what other quilters are working on this week.