Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mail Bag . . . . .

The mailman's been my best friend the last couple of weeks...well, the mailman and some special friends who sent some goodies my way.....

I had a friend blog about the Moda Bake Shop Sampler Box, you've probably seen it around, it's not new, there it is setting on my shelves in my sewing room. This box holds 2 1/2 inch squares of twelve different families of Moda fabric. So when she blogged about it, it was new to me, probably because I don't have fabulous quilt shops in my town where I get to see the latest stuff. So anyway, I commented on that cute box of squares, and she sent me one!! That's my definition of a perfect gift, something you would never buy yourself but would LOVE to have.

So after I got that adorable box of wonderfulness in the mail, I won a $10 gift certificate from Quilt Taffy for the May Schnibbles Parade.

And I used it to buy this bake shop box...it was on sale for $13, so it was practically free! Thanks Corrie for supporting Sinta and Sherri's Schnibble Parade.

I also won a giveaway from Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company! My box from Carrie weighed over 13 pounds and was filled with all kinds of quilting goodness; jelly rolls, layer cakes, fat eighth's bundles, including this little bundle of joy..

Maison De Garance by French General. If you're a French General fan, you're going to LOVE this family of fabrics. If you're a not a French General fan, you will be after you see this fabric!

Remember how I decided to save my selvages...for something, and I was storing them in my pretty glass jar...

I just outgrew that jar.....a friend who reads my blog sent me a whole box full of selvages!!

And finally, when I blogged about the pattern for "Jake", Climbing Jacobs Ladder II, I casually mentioned the designer was River Bend Quilts. I say casually because after searching online, I could not find a blog, website or really anything about that pattern company. I try to provide links and give credit whenever I can on anything I'm working on but came up empty that time.

Then someone who knew the designer, Leanne Hurley, just happened upon my blog when I blogged about getting Jake back from the quilter. It seems River Bend Quilts is just starting to grow and not widely distributed.

Leanne was so excited to see one of her designs out in blogland she contacted me and sent me a few more of her designs. Pathways To Freedom went right to my To Do list.

She's also designed a Thread Tote, pillow and Christmas wall hanging. If you're interested in any patterns by Leanne her patterns are sold at Prairie Shop Quilts in Batavia, Il or contact River Bend Quilts directly at Leanne1947@comcast.net.

I'm still happily working away on the lattice blocks for A La Mode, stay tuned for an update.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A La Mode . . . . . .

Did you know "A La Mode" means, "in the current fashion or style"? I thought it meant "three scoops of ice cream on my pie, please". I guess putting ice cream on pie is fashionable.
Pie is my favorite food, pizza pie, chicken pot pie, coconut cream pie, cherry pie, apple pie....I've yet to meet a pie I didn't like! More on this topic later.....

So here's the latest picture of my laundry basket project..... I'm using an assortment of Fig Tree fabrics and Joanna's pattern Laundry Baskets.

I've got the sashing around all the blocks.

I went with two colors on the cornerstones, because, well, I didn't want them scrappy and one color seemed too vanilla, two seemed to be juuuuuuuuust right.

I like how the sashing gives this top the feeling that it's all about the baskets and not about the setting triangles. Adding the sashing wasn't a decision I agonized over, like I tend to do on most of my decisions, I think because my last project, Madeline's Good Fortune, also used corner setting triangles, and I didn't go with sashing on it.
I think I was just ready for a change.

So I put this top on my bed, and it's a perfect fit, those baskets just go to the edge of the mattress. Now, just to add some borders to hang down the sides and I'm done....sounds easy, but you know me. I'm mainly working with Fig Tree fat quarters on this one, I have some yardage, but nothing bigger than a 1/2 yard, so the outer border needs to be scrappy....but what goes with sundaes, ice cream sundaes.....

Pie, of course!

This is American Pie by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company . Currently, on Carrie's blog, she's standing right in front of this pattern!!

You can buy this pattern, on its own.

But it's also included in this book, so why buy one pattern when for a few dollars more, you can have 14 of her marvelous patterns!!

The blocks in Carrie's pattern finish at 4 inches. I'm wanting a 12 inch border, so I'm making my blocks to finish at 3 inches, giving me four rows of lattice blocks instead of 3.

So this is how it's looking right now.

I think it works on several levels. What appealed to me about this pattern was the lattice look, which is really what I was looking for, to go with the flower baskets. But since we've decided my baskets have more of an ice cream sundae feel to them, and Carrie thought this design looked like the lattice top of a pie, I thought it was the perfect marriage.

See that 3 inch space of carpet peeking through the two designs.....that space is reserved for a border of some sort, that I'm sure will come to me sometime, but is necessary for the outer blocks to completely surround the inner blocks, it's a math thing.....

The pattern in the book makes a 72 X 80 quilt from 360 lattice squares, I need over 500 to surround my sundaes. It will be like making another quilt....so there goes my goal of having this project AND State Fair done by the end of June.

I'm usually pretty committed to my deadlines, and even get grumpy when I start getting close to my deadline and am not done. Which is pretty silly, since I'm the one making the deadline! But for some reason, I'm just loving this fabric, loving the lattice blocks and am happy about the prospect of working on this border for as long as it may take, very unThelma like....maybe I'm growing (oh, I am growing, this quilt continues to make me hungry!) or maybe it's just because it's summer, and I'm in the mood to relax.

So I've decided A La Mode is the perfect name for this quilt, because it is so fashionable, and because pie and ice cream make the perfect summer treat.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Handwork Update . . . .

So back in March, I blogged about how I was looking for something to work on outside my sewing room, something I could take with me in the car and on trips, or have in my lap while watching TV with my husband in the evening. I thought Hocuspocusville was going to be the answer, part handwork part sewing, but I could tell right off, that was not the project for me.

Several folks left comments that I should try working with hexagons. I did a little research on English Paper Piecing and basically felt making all the hexagons would be fun, but wasn't so sure I would ever make anything with them.....kind of like those yo yos.

So I'm mulling over the whole hexagon thing and then, I remember, I have these . . . . .

28 hexagon blocks made by my Mamaw, just sitting in her old sewing basket, that my Mom had given me ages back, way before I even ever thought about quilting!!

These blocks are well over 40 years old, cut and pieced by hand, the seams are maybe 1/8 of an inch wide.

So I dig around in my sewing room and find the blocks. And at first I wasn't so excited about the prospect of actually making something with them.

I loved that the blocks were made by my grandmother, but the fabric, not really my thing, and the white blocks around the edges, no longer white, or even close to white. I took this picture of two of the blocks laying on white fabric.

So I did some research on the internet and found that perhaps the blocks could be brought back to life. The blocks are very fragile so I weighed the possibility of ruining the blocks against never using the blocks, just keeping them in the old sewing basket. I decided to risk two blocks.

In my kitchen sink I soaked two blocks in hot water with 3/4 cup of oxy clean for 2 hours.

I then carefully rinsed and soaked them 20 minutes in white vinegar.

Finally, I soaked them for 15 minutes in plain cold water.

I pressed the excess water out with a towel, and pressed them with an iron while they were still damp.....and look what I got...

This is the after shot of those yellowed looking blocks......they look as good as new. I feel like I've won the lottery, these blocks are priceless to me. Since the blocks are made by hand, they don't fit together, which is why I suspect Mamaw didn't make a quilt from them. So I've decided to attach them to squares of fabric, that will also help protect them, make them less fragile.

I'm using some of these paper templates to help me with this project....

This the the back, I'm using the paper pieces to help me turn and baste the tiny edge around each block.

Then I will attach them to fabric.

I'm also making some blocks of my own. Right now there's no master plan, other than making my blocks with the same yellow center and same design, yellow center, solid fabric, floral fabric, white border.

I'm still trying to decide how to best use Mamaw's blocks; make one quilt with her blocks and a few of mine and give it to my Mom, divide Mamaw's blocks up, add more of mine, and make a throw for me and two more my two brothers to have.....I'm not sure, I guess I'll ask my family and see what they would like.....

I'm thinking about adding some little hexie flowers to each corner of the blocks with the bigger hexie flowers....

The top hexie is the size of Mamaw's, 3/4 an inch...I'm practicing on those, once I'm good with the bigger size I'll drop down to the medium size, then the small.

Something that helps me work on these pieces is this light I wear around my neck. It's light, bright and portable.

I carry all my hexagon supplies in my Mothers Day floral arrangement basket. I just love being able to pick up the basket and carry it from room to room, and just having a sewing basket in general!

So in addition to being thrilled with the prospect of finally getting Mamaw's blocks out of the closet and into a quilt, I love making the hexagons myself. It's a very relaxing way to end each day.

And the funniest thing of all.......if I would have been happy with that Hocuspocusville project, these blocks would still be in the closet, in the dark, forgotten and forlorn......

It's just so true, when one door closes another opens.....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Tisket a Tasket . . . . . .

Look who's making baskets!!

I've been wanting to make a basket quilt for ages, and when Sinta and Sherri picked Picnic for the November Schnibbles sew along, I really got basket fever. There are so many adorable basket patterns to choose from, big baskets, little baskets, with handles, no handles...I figured out real fast that I could spend the rest of my sewing days making nothing but basket quilts.

The Picnic Schibble did not work out for me, but when Sherri blogged about this basket quilt, my search was over.....

The pattern is called Laundry Baskets and is by Fig Tree.

I'm using a mix of Fig Tree fabrics for my baskets, this is the first time I've used Fig Tree Fabrics.

It's not my normal palette, pastels and florals, but the fabric just says "summer " to me and I'm in the mood for summer.

The pattern calls for scrappy background fabric but instead I chose a pale yellow solid from the Fig Tree Fresh Cottons family. The color is the exact color of the vanilla ice cream my grandmother used to cook on the stove then crank in the hand crank ice cream maker, and it makes me hungry and crave ice cream to work with it.

I don't like laundry, it's probably my least favorite household chore, I think because it's something that's never done. I may get caught up on the laundry, everything washed, folded and put away, but since I'm wearing clothes, I immediately have more laundry.....

So with that in mind, I've decided that I don't want to call my lovely basket quilt, "Laundry Baskets".......I think the baskets look more like ice cream sundaes...made with neapolitan, mint chocolate chip, coffee, and peach ice cream. So right now, this quilt doesn't have a name.

I'm planning to make this quilt large enough to use on our bed during the summer months. Having so much light fabric, on a quilt that we'll be sitting on, sleeping under, and Cooper will likely pounce on, makes me a little nervous.

So I decided to add scrappy corners, to make the blocks bigger, use more of that lovely Fig Tree Fabric, and cut down on the amount of exposed light material. The block went from 8 1/2 inches to 12.

I don't really like how they look connected, so I'm thinking of using some of that vanilla ice cream fabric for sashing.

So that's where I am right now, I'm thinking I'll also add a scrappy border of some sort....I need around 12 inches of something to hang over the sides of the bed.

I'm really enjoying this project, even if it makes me constantly crave ice cream, and for some reason, I'm feeling no fabric drama, or should I say I'm not creating any fabric drama. I'm just going with the flow and loving every minute I can squeeze out of my busy day to spend in my sewing room.

Thanks so much for stopping by to see what I'm up to......

Friday, June 4, 2010

Heeeeee's Baaaaaaaack . . . . .

Look who's back from the quilter.......


I don't care what pattern you choose when quilting your top, there's just something about that rumpled, bumpy quilted look that really sets off a quilt.

But in this case, the quilting is pretty phenomenal . . . . .

Here's a view of the back.

And here you can sort of pick out how lovely the design looks from the front.

I was thinking Jake would hang over the bannister in living room,

but I threw him over the red couch, just to keep him off the floor, and I love him there. I've never had a quilt on either sofa that wasn't red, but I like this change of pace.

For more information on Jake you can select Quilt # 58, Climbing Jacob's Ladder II from my lifetime quilt list in the right hand column.