Friday, April 28, 2017

Quilters Bee the Best!

After mentioning that I might place a bee at the entrance to my skep (Blockhead #5) I had an offer of a button from Janet O. (Rogue Quilter) and Barbara (Quilts and Gravestones) sent me these 3 fabrics in case any of these bees might work. 

Then my neighbor and partner in quilting crime Fotini, gave me this sweet little print to try. 

I think the ones from Barbara are a little large and the one from Fotini is a bit small. Whatever I use needs to be about ¼” in size. I’m still contemplating but I so appreciate “a little help from my friends”!

And speaking of Fotini, she pieced this top 

And I did this one

And they are off to Sharon, our quilting angel.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Blockheads Week #7 Penny Basket


This block was designed by Lynne Hagmeier (Kansas Troubles). I love this little block. As I have mentioned before I could applique circles all day. I did modify it slightly. I wanted to hand quilt it so I eliminated a few seams. You won’t notice it from a few hundred feet away and I don’t think Lynne will mind.

Check out all the fun variations (here).

Friday, April 21, 2017

Humble Quilts Swap & Binding Tutorial

My little swap quilt (Humble Quilts) arrived at its destination so I can reveal it now. I named it “Sweet 116” because it has 116 different prints in the blocks and border. The border print is from one of my favorite Barbara Brackman lines, "Metropolitan Fair".
I used one of my favorite cheater prints for the back. 

Andrea (the recipient) asked me how I get my binding corners so precise so I thought I would do a quick tutorial here.

When you are making “potholder” blocks it is particularly important that your corners are sharp and crisp. If your corner is at all rounded, you will have a gap at your intersection which you will have to fill with a yo-yo or other such clever “fix”. I speak from a great deal of experience in the trial and error method!!

I use a single straight (not bias) grain binding. I cut my strips 1 ¼” wide. I leave about 2” “tail” at the beginning and start stitching the binding down. At the corner I simply fold the miter over and stitch. It is important to make sure that the fold is in line with the top edge of the quilt (or block in this case). 

If the fold does not meet the top edge – like this
Your corner will be rounded - like this - argh! 

If you come all the way to the top edge – like this
Your corners will be crisp and perfect! - like these 

When I come to the end, I leave another 2” “tail”. Then I fold back each edge until they meet and then finger press.  You can finish at an angle, but I simply stitch straight across which, because of the single binding creates almost no bulk.
Then pin, pick it up and take it to the machine. I stitch one or two thread widths to the left of the crease. That way I get a little “camber” so that when I stitch it down, I won’t have a pucker in the binding.

Trim to 1/4" seam allowance and stitch down.

I’ve had so many comments over the years. What??? You don’t use bias? What??? You use single width? What??? You don’t miter your seams? Nope, nope, nope, but then this is MY method, not the ONLY method. I taught myself how to do it this way after seeing hundreds of antique quilts with single, straight grain bindings. I just like the sleek look of it.

Hope this helps Andrea! I’m glad you like the little quilt.

Thanks Lori (Humble Quilts) for hosting this swap again. I am looking forward to seeing what comes my way! Lori will be doing a link up soon so we can enjoy them all!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Guess what?

You guessed it - the potholder method wins! Not only am I caught up with my weekly Blockhead blocks, but I was able to sneak enough time in to finish the first 6 in my favorite potholder method. If I can keep up the pace, I should have a completed quilt by the end of the 48 weeks. (I'm not holding my breath!)

I quilted the bee skep with a "bee line" swirly motion. I am looking for a little bee to place in the doorway. These blocks are 6 1/2" finished (because of the potholder method, the binding is part of the measurement) so it needs to be a tiny bee!

Maybe I should stick one in the center of my sunflower (block #6) too!

I remembered that the American Quilt Museum is having their annual auction and I found my little feedsack quilt in the first round of auctions. 

You can view all the items on their website (here)

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. We spent the whole weekend with family and it was delightful.

Friday, April 14, 2017

SVBAQ Rose of Sharon

I love the traditional stylized block named “Rose of Sharon”, but Esther’s creation (as with most of the blocks in this quilt) is a more realistic rendition of the real flower. This was an easy one to applique. There were lots of pieces, but they were all large enough to make the applique process simpler.

I have tried to vary the greens in each block. Since I am using all 19th century reproductions, it is a bit more difficult to get a good variety. I used lighter, brighter greens for this one. Clearly they are my favorites, as you can see, they matched my outfit of orange socks and green Crocs! Too funny!

 My husband is boatbuilder who has recently found a hobby in miniature modeling.
Some of the fleet 

The latest in process

He attended the Midcoast Model Festival at the Transportation Museum in Owl’s Head over the weekend, so I had lots of quiet time to finish this one up! Old movies and hand work – the best combo ever! I love watching old mysteries and film noir while I am stitching. My kids used to tease me that I never watched anything that wasn’t in black and white!

Visit the Shenandoah ValleyBotanical Album blog to see all the wonderful renditions.

Happy Easter everyone!
May your baskets be filled with joy!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Blockheads Unite

I am almost caught up with my weekly “Blockheads” challenge. Read about it here – or better yet, join in the fun.

I just couldn’t resist this one since it is hosted by some of my favorite designers. Betsy Chutchian, Jo Morton, Lisa Bongean, Lynne Hagmeier, Jan Patek and Carrie Nelson are taking turns designing a block each Wednesday for 48 weeks.

Week 4 - “Beeskep” is designed by Jan Patek. I love bees and this one was fun to make. I altered the pattern slightly by piecing my strips unevenly. I wanted to make it look more random. I may even add a little bee coming out of the skep (if spring ever comes to Maine!). 

Week 5 – “Coronation” by Lisa Bongean. Those little half square triangles finish at ¾”! They were simple to put together though. I used an old favorite fabric from Jo Morton for this one. 

This week’s block is “Sunflower” By Carrie Nelson. Started, but not finished enough for a photo.

Those who read my blog regularly may be shocked by this, but this quilt is screaming to be made in the potholder method. So… stand by and see if I listen to the screams.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lancaster - Part Two

We left Maine early Tuesday morning so that we could have a full day on Wednesday (opening day) to enjoy the show. We had planned to be there through Friday afternoon, but due to one of wonderful New England spring storms, we headed back early Friday morning. So unfortunately, I did not get to meet up with any fellow bloggers.

I did take a picture of Julie Sefton’s (Quilt Diva Julie) wonderful quilt from her "Build a Barn" book in the author’s room. She said it was o.k. to take a silly picture. Can’t get much sillier than me! Beautiful quilt Julie!

Our friend Karen is a big Jenny Doan (Missouri Star Co.) fan. Jenny wasn't there so we had to take a picture of the next best thing!

Here are a few more antique quilts that we saw at the second show a few miles down the road.
 this one was my favorite

And these gems are from Betty Neff from Pennsylvania. Visit her website (here).
Her quilts are absolutely beautiful. I am NOT a paper piecer, but I did buy her “triangles on a roll” to piece those tricky pointy triangle borders. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Wink

It was hard to leave for the frozen north after seeing these pansies in the square outside the hotel!

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Oh What Heights We'll Hit

On with the show, this is it! The AQS Lancaster Show that is.

 view from our room at the Marriott

What a trip! It was well worth the LONG bus ride (with 44 wonderful ladies from Maine) to experience my first AQS show.

First things first. We unpacked the necessities – Kathy’s strips!

 Then on to the show! I dragged Kathy down the aisles until we came to the most beautiful quilt in the show!! “My Style Log Cabins” by Kathy Boudreau of Gardiner, ME (my friend and roommate!!). It was so much fun to see it hanging. I stood by listening to the comments while Kathy was busy shopping and listening to demos. I am so proud!

As with any show, I found that my choices for winners did always not coincide with the judges. I know it must be mind boggling to have to make those decisions. There is a special category for hand quilted quilts. Twenty seven of the over 200 quilts in the show were hand quilted. Better percentage than most shows these days.

You can go to the AQS website here to see the winning quilts, but I’d like to share some of my favorites with you.

 “Quintal Vases” by Becky Brown of Montpelier, VA was absolutely amazing. No ribbon, but oh so perfect to me, in execution and design.

 “Old Glory Under HIS Wings” by Julee Prose of Ottumwa, IA.

“Decadent Victorian Darlings” by Hattie Williams of Boswell, PA. This had the most amazing hand quilting! 

“Midnight in Taicang” by Nancy LaPointe of St. Albans, VT. A traditional quilt in modern fabrics really does sing!

 “Wrapped up in Fragrance of Rose” by Mizue Matsuda of Kitakatsusikagun, Saitama, Japan. No ribbon here either. See what I mean about difficult decisions for judges!

 “Fun and Fancy” by Zena Thorpe of Chatsworth, CA won third in the hand quilted section. Zena’s quilts are always wonderful!

“Infinite Glow” by Renee Burston of Port Orange, FL was very modern, and oh so beautiful.

 “Stripe Tease” by Jennifer Emry of Arlington, VA was my favorite modern quilt. Most likely because it was hand quilted and it does have a traditional feel.

If I were to give one critique it would be that I would like to have seen the “story” behind each quilt either on the card or in the show booklet. When you enter an AQS show they do ask for a brief description so I wondered where this info was and why it wasn’t on the description card.

The vendors catered mostly to machine quilting so I was beyond thrilled to see the sign for “Lancaster Traditionals” as I rounded the corner. Joe, the owner, used to vend our show in Maine along with a few others in New England. I was always delighted to see him and always spent all my money there. Joe passed away a few years ago and his daughter, Yoko is helping the family to sell his inventory. 
Yoko was a delightful young lady and I was so very happy to do my part to help deplete her supplies.

Another bonus of the trip was that there was another show just down the road with antiques. So, we hopped in the shuttle bus and found these beauties hanging in the foyer. 

I hope your year is full of wonderful quilts and quilt shows!