Hearts for Colette

May 22, 2015

Around 2009 or so, my brother’s friend Colette spent Christmas with our family. One night she looked at me and said, “I want you to make me a quilt for my bed. It has to be all your own work. I want black, white and pink and hearts. I’ll pay for it.” I was so stunned I neglected to explore the question of how much she thought it might cost. Colette had been working as a real estate agent until the 2008 crash so I knew she didn’t have any money. She’d had to take on a roommate to pay her mortgage. I explained that, despite her insistence that I do it all myself, I wouldn’t do the quilting. I have someone I pay to do that, especially on a big quilt.

She then playfully berated me for not having made my brother a quilt. I looked at him and asked, “Do you want a quilt?” He said, “No.” I looked at Colette and said, “That’s why he doesn’t have one.”

I didn’t really know how serious she was about wanting a quilt – maybe it was just a passing fancy. I thought about it for a while and decided I’d make one but would choose something I liked for myself in case she wasn’t serious. My brother said she might forget about it, but she might not.

As it turned out, she didn’t forget about it. Occasionally she mentioned it to my brother. I don’t remember him saying much to me about it.

Colette is a girly girl type of woman, hence the pink and hearts. I’m not and hearts aren’t one of my favorite things. I found a design I liked in Billie Lauder’s book, Beyond the Rail Fence. I needed light, medium and dark pink, a whitish background and a black fabric. As I recall I found the pinks in my batik stash and got the black and background at my local quilt shop. The black print is an oriental print with small cranes. The background print was a Lonni Rossi design white with gray lines. For borders, I used the background fabric for a small inner border. I didn’t have enough of the black print left and it was no longer available, of course. I found a black scroll print to use. Some of the Sew & Tell folks didn’t like the border fabric but I knew I was planning to have it quilted with pink thread so I figured it was the best I was going to find and it wouldn’t look so stark after it was quilted. What I had a heck of a time finding was the hot pink fabric for the flange between the white and black borders. I only had a tiny piece of the dark pink batik left. The equivalent batiks in the stores then weren’t quite the right color. I bought several fabrics over the next few years that were rejected by the quilt. I finally found a hand dyed fabric at a local quilt show that was just the right color. I was then able to finish the top.

A closeup of the borders.

A closeup of the borders, unquilted.

I took it home with me in 2012 because we were spending Christmas at my brother’s house that year. I showed it to Colette. She loved it, of course. After that, the frequency of inquiries about how her quilt was coming along increased.

Hanging in my guild quilt show in 2014.

Hanging in my guild quilt show in 2014.

Maria O’Haver did the quilting and I finished the quilt in time to hang in my guild’s spring 2014 show. Apparently I neglected to take pictures of the quilting. Darn it! The borders are quilted with a heart design. The large heart is quilted with a feather design. Knowing that Colette couldn’t afford to pay for it and I could and she’s been friends with my brother for a very long time, I decided that it would be a gift. I gave the quilt to Colette in December 2014. She was thrilled with it.

Colette with the quilt.

Colette with the quilt.

While I was taking the picture of Colette with the quilt, this happend —

Smokey joins Colette on the quilt.

Smokey joined Colette on the quilt.

My brother doesn’t own any quilts and I don’t remember Smokey doing this when I was covered with a blanket but he knew exactly what to do when a quilt appeared.

The label.

The label. The wide backing fabric came from Miller’s Dry Goods outside Arcola, IL.

The quilt on Colette's bed.

The quilt on Colette’s bed.

Because most non-quilters don’t have a clue about the value of quilts, I had an insurance appraisal done to give her with the quilt. I told her to check with her agent to see if she needs a fine arts rider to cover it. There are several different types of appraisals. The insurance appraisal is the amount it would cost to pay someone to remake the quilt. Some of the things that the appraiser considers in determing the value are the cost of the fabric, the cost of the pattern, the cost of batting and thread, the amount paid to a quilter if the quilting was hired out, the size and number of blocks, size of the quilt, the label, the number of fabrics in the quilt, whether any quilts you’ve made have been published.

Stash Accounting, Jan 2015

April 24, 2015

Last year I rashly claimed that I was going to track incoming and outgoing fabric. That didn’t work out so well. If I’m going to track it this year, I’d better get started because it’s already the end of April.

I fell off the no-buy wagon very early in the year. On Jan 6, Mimi Dietrich’s grad school class met at Bear’s Paw. Judy came in to tell us the sale fabrics were on clearance.I’m sorry to say that I joined in the feeding frenzy. There was an extra bonus amount off for finishing the bolt which explains some of the yardage numbers.

3.5 yards. What can I say? I've been on a pink kick for a while.

3.5 yards. What can I say? I’ve been on a pink kick for a while.

2.5 yards. Who doesn't like a good oriental?

2.5 yards. Who doesn’t like a good oriental?

1 yard. Patriotic.

1 yard. Patriotic.

4.5 yards. Funky pandas will be a nice back for a boy quilt.

4.5 yards. Funky pandas will be a nice back for a boy quilt.

2 1/8th yards. Just because.

2 1/8th yards. Just because.

3/8 yard gifted from another quilter.

3/8 yard lighthouses gifted from another quilter.

Total stash added in January: 14 yards.

It’s All Patty’s Fault!

April 24, 2015

Patty and I went to the Friendship Star Quilters show at the Montgomery Co, MD fairgrounds. I didn’t take a lot of pictures but here’s a fun Row by Row experience quilt. It’s a two-sided quilt but they hung it so only one side shows. Darn. The other side is 8 different row designs and license plates.

Fun X Fun by Susan Holman. Artist's statement: Each license plate has the name of the shop and city/state where I purchased the kit. . . I machine quilted the rows back to back and attached them to each other with binding. Incredibly FUN to make!

Fun X Fun by Susan Holman.
Artist’s statement: Each license plate has the name of the shop and city/state where I purchased the kit. . . I machine quilted the rows back to back and attached them to each other with binding. Incredibly FUN to make!

Hancock Fabrics is around the corner from the fairgrounds so Patty wanted to go while we were in the area. I don’t usually buy chain store fabrics these days and I had no plans to buy anything because I have way too much. It’s all Patty’s fault! I saw this flannel and had to buy it for the back of a donation quilt that is in progress. I had planned to make a multi-floral pieced back to use up just a little of my pile of floral fabrics but I fell in love with this one.

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4 yards

On my screen it’s looking kind of lavender but it is a pink background. Some little girl will love it.

After lunch at Red Lobster, we went to Capital Quilts because they just got in some Oriole’s fabric. I’m not a sports fan but my former co-workers are rabid avid O’s and Raven’s fans. I have some Ravens fabric but needed O’s. I wnat to make them re-useable grocery bags.

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The ladies at the shop teased me and said if I bought O’s fabric I also had to buy National’s fabric. I said, “Nope, don’t know any Nat’s fans. Up north, it’s O’s and Ravens!”

Total stash in: 6 yards

I’ll end with one of the show quilts from a challenge that had something to do with endings. I failed to read the details of the challenge.

End of the Show Folks by Marie Quattrociocchi.

End of the Show Folks by Marie Quattrociocchi.

Cancelled, again!

March 2, 2015

I’m very glad that I don’t live in Boston. Our winter hasn’t been so bad, but I’m getting sick and tired of everything being cancelled because of weather. It’s the timing of the storms that has been the problem. Mimi Dietrich‘s grad school class was supposed to meet today but we were cancelled again. This group was also cancelled last month. Baltimore Applique Society was also cancelled in Jan and Feb. My guild has a group that meets every Monday evening and a group that meets every Thursday morning. Now that I’m retired, I go to both. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been cancelled this year. Tonight’s meeting is cancelled. I need to do laundry but my dryer vent is buried under snow and ice. Guess I’ll have to go out in the rain on Wed and try to free it.

I feel like I’m trapped in the house. The front of my house faces north and doesn’t get any sunshine so my steps and walk are solid ice. I do have some cleat things for walking on ice that I can strap on my shoes if I want to leave.

What’s the forecast for the rest of the week? Tues – Freezing rain, Wed – rain, Thurs – Snow. What do you want to bet that Thursday’s guild meeting is cancelled? Our daytime temps are supposed to be in the 50s this time of year.

If you haven’t heard, Mimi Dietrich is being inducted into the Quilter’s Hall of Fame this year. She’s having her students make blocks for a quilt to give to the Hall of Fame. They were due today. Mimi provided the background, stems, flower center and fabric for one leaf. The flower color and remaining leaves were our choice but had to be batiks.

I haven’t done hand applique in quite a while – longer than I realized. I’m sorry to say that this block isn’t the best work I’ve ever done. It did turn out better than I feared it was going to. Don’t look too closely, :-)

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The stem looks a lot more puckered in the picture than it does in person. Guess I’d better spend more time with the steam iron before I send it off to Mimi.

The Cherokee Rose block was designed by Marie Webster in 1916.

Stash accounting 2014

February 8, 2015

Sometime last year I rashly claimed that I was going to track fabric coming in and going out. That didn’t happen. What did happen was this:

Row by Row + Quilters’ Quest = too much fabric = Stash Overflow.

While I was in Houston with my brother our cousin kidnapped me for a few days while he was in the hospital. She is not a quilter but wanted to provide something quilty for me so took me to Tea Time Quilting. I had to pick up some cowboy toile and barbed wire prints as well as a 30s charm pack and a layer cake of Little Black Dress. Unfortunately it was the day before Row by Row started. If I’d realized they were participating I’d have begged for the pattern early.

Tea Time Quilting

Once my brother improved enough that I didn’t need to be there 24/7, I took a day each of the last 2 weeks I was there and visited some Row by Row shops in the Chicago area. I managed 4 shops each day.

Quilter’s Quest, not to be confused with the Maryland-DC-Virginia shop hop which is Quilters’ Quest.

York 2014 and row by row 112

Quiltfabric.com. This was my favorite shop. I almost wish I lived near there except I don’t want to move back to the Chicago area.

York 2014 and row by row 115York 2014 and row by row 116

Gentler Times

York 2014 and row by row 121

York 2014 and row by row 122

Fabrics Etc. This was a huge store.

York 2014 and row by row 134

York 2014 and row by row 133

I seem to be missing pictures of the loot from the other 3 stores in the Chicago area.

In August Patty, Linda and I went to Lancaster County, PA where we visited 8 quilt shops in a single day. Seven of them were Row by Row shops. I had never realized how close all the shops were. This is not the order we visited them.

Log Cabin Quilt Shop. When we first entered, we thought it was just selling completed items. The fabrics and supplies were in the back room. I picked up a Nancy Drew panel.

York 2014 and row by row 124

The Old Country Store. We’re happy to see this store reopened under new management. Linda and I were choosing fabric for a quilt for our hairdresser’s first baby. We found the crayons for the outer border and the gray for the inner border and binding.

York 2014 and row by row 126

Dutchland Quilt Patch

York 2014 and row by row 127

Family Farm Quilt Shop

York 2014 and row by row 128

Piece by Piece Quilt Shop

York 2014 and row by row 129

The Quilt Shop At Miller’s. This one is part of a complex that includes a large buffet restaurant and other shops. This quilt shop doesn’t sell supplies, only completed items. They did have fat quarters of the Amish buggy fabric which they had used in their row pattern.

York 2014 and row by row 130

Sauder’s Fabrics Shop. This is always the first stop on my guild’s annual bus shopping trip. I don’t go on that trip anymore because I have too much fabric. As you can see from this post I need to not put myself into the path of temptation.

York 2014 and row by row 131

Sashing and backing for the baby quilt Linda and I were making.

York 2014 and row by row 132

I’m missing pictures from 2 of the Lancaster shops.

Around Maryland and Virginia, I visited the following shops.

Ellicott City Sew-Vac

York 2014 and row by row 125

Jinny Beyer Studio

York 2014 and row by row 120

Capital Quilts

York 2014 and row by row 119

I’m pretty sure I managed to get to one or two others but I don’t have anything to show for it. I do plan to account for my stash comings and goings in 2015 so I’ll know if it’s going in the right direction. But, I’d better get busy tracking it because I fell off the wagon on Jan 6th. Sigh.

Grand Illusion behind the scenes: Creating a big block back

February 7, 2015
Grand Illusion top.

Grand Illusion top.

Now that I’ve finished the top, I need a back. For the back of Easy Street, the 2012 mystery, I used one of the blocks from the front but blew it up to make a one block back. I liked that and did it again for Grand Illusion.

The first thing I do is determine the grid for the block and draw it on graph paper. This block uses a 6 by 6 grid.

wpid-20150126_115616.jpgThe second step is to determine what size the block needs to be. It can’t be the same size as the front of the quilt because the back needs to be bigger. I also have to take into account that my quilter needs extra fabric on the back for mounting onto the long-arm frame. I need to make the back block smaller than the quilt top because the quilter can’t exactly match them up and I don’t want pieces of the block cut off to make it not square. So, I make the block smaller and add a border. My quilter will do her best to center the top on the back but the borders won’t be exactly the same size when the quilt is finished.

How did I decide how big to make the block? The top was approximately 88″ square. 88″ divided by 6 (the number of sections in the block grid) is 14 and change. Making each section of the block 14″ would yield an 84″ block. That leaves only 2″ of border on each side when it is finished which is cutting it too close for my comfort. Making each section 13″ makes a 78″ block which is much more comfortable.

Uh oh, I just realized I forgot to divide the 10″ difference by 2 when making my borders. I should have made my borders about 10″ wide to provide the additional width the long-arm quilter needs. I was thinking each border would be 10″ plus the extra so I made them about 16″ wide. Oh, well, better too big than too small. If I’d done the math properly I’d have made the grid segments 12″ instead of 13″. That would have made the borders 8″ instead of 5″ which would look better.

To make the sections of the block, I used the leftovers from the front. But, most of the fabrics weren’t big enough to cut full pieces from. What’s a quilter to do? Sew the pieces together until the fabric is big enough. I think Bonnie would approve.

A brown square pieced from leftovers.

A brown square pieced from leftovers.

I only had enough yellow from the front to make one square. I found 3 fabrics with yellow backgrounds and prints in pink, turquoise and green for the remaining yellow squares. How perfect is that?

In the interest of best usage of fabric, I made the chevrons with half-square triangles instead of a single background piece like the front blocks. I didn’t want to have a bunch of large triangle scrap pieces left over.

I decided to do green borders instead of the checkerboard. After I pieced 2 slabs I ran out of green leftovers that I was willing to sacrifice for the back. The rest of my greens from the front were big enough to put back into stash. Because they’re the only fabrics I have of that color of green, that’s what I did.

I found another pile of brown scraps so made a square for one corner. Pink scraps went into another corner and the last 2 corners got neutral scraps. For the other 2 borders I used large pieces of turquoise from the front leftovers. Those 2 fabrics were bought on spec as borders for a different project but were rejected. I didn’t mind using them here since there was still quite a bit left.

Grand Illusion back.

Grand Illusion back.

See others’ progress on Grand Illusion at Quiltville.

Grand Illusion: Playing catch-up

February 7, 2015

Clue 4 is where I get behind because I leave home to spend the holidays with my elderly parents (87 and 91) and brother. After staying with my parents for several days, I went to Chicago to spend a couple of days with my brother.

One of my brother's Christmas trees.

One of my brother’s Christmas trees.

He has three mini Schnauzers.

Missy, AKA the small evil one, after her bath.

Missy, AKA the small evil one, after her bath.

Gibson, the sneaky one. Hard to get a decent picture of this one.

Gibson, the sneaky one. Hard to get a decent picture of this one.

Nobody sneaks up with Smokey on the job.

Nobody sneaks up with Smokey on the job.

Some of the neutrals in Grand Illusion.

Some of the neutrals in Grand Illusion. Quiet but with nice textures.

I cut lots of half-square triangles with my Accuquilt Go! cutter. Lots of pink triangles, lots of turquoise triangles, lots of neutral triangles and yellow and brown squares.

Clue 4 ready to sew.

Clue 4 ready to sew.

After cutting all these, I tidied up before leaving for the holidays. I found the baggie with the pink and turquoise half-square triangle squares set aside from a previous clue. Oops. I should read the instructions instead of just looking at the pictures. I didn’t need the pink triangles at all.

But, when I got to assembling the border pieces, I had half as many units as I needed. Apparently, I got the number 40 stuck in my head and made 20 pairs instead of 40 pairs of blocks. Back to the sewing machine.

Grand Illusion block.

Grand Illusion block.

I sewed and sewed and sewed. Every time I finished a step, there was something else to do. Eventually it was a completed top!

Grand Illusion top.

Grand Illusion top.

Grand Illusion Clue Roundup

December 18, 2014

In last week’s link-up clue 2 was on hiatus while I waited for the rectangle Go! cutter die to arrive. It came Thursday afternoon. I got busy rough cutting for the die, starching the fabric and cutting.

Basket of clue 2 pieces waiting for trimming and pressing.

Basket of some clue 2 pieces waiting for trimming and pressing.

Left - pefect. Middle - almost perfect. Right - not quite perfect.

Check out the seam where the neutral pieces meet. Left – perfect. Middle – almost perfect. Right – not quite perfect but close enough. The differences don’t show up as much in the picture as they do in real life.

I like to press seams open, especially with Bonnie’s mysteries. With Easy Street I had too many seems going the same direction. But, for this unit, because I did the rectangles and squares method for the bonus half-square triangle squares, my seams were too small for me to be comfortable with pressing them open. So, I pressed the small seams to the colored square and pressed the normal size seam between the units open.

Back of one unit.

Back of one unit.

Clue 2 with a basket of bonus half-square triangle squares.

Clue 2 with a basket of bonus half-square triangle squares.

I finished clue 2 on Sunday.

Monday, Patty and I ran down to Ikea to pick up “Bonnie” lamps. Online shows the desktop lamp in black or white only but the store had several other colors. I got a blue metallic. I also got an orange clip-on to take with me when I travel. I may also use it upstairs when doing hand work. The clip has quite a large mouth so should prove quite useful. I assembled the desktop one before starting clue 3 on Monday afternoon. What a difference it makes! I can actually see what I’m doing at the machine. It’s so bright I was seeing spots at the ironing board. The light there seems dim by comparison.

On to clue 3. I ride the scrappy train so my first thought was to cut squares for maximum scrappy goodness instead of using strips. I sat still till that urge passed. I’ve been ironing, cutting and sewing ever since. I like to do a little bit of each step, then repeat so i don’t get bored with doing a lot of one thing before moving on to the next step. I’m making 2 strip sets (one of each type) at a time and cutting them into the subunits. I got smart and started counting them as I go so I’ll know when to stop. I won’t sew them together until all the subunits are ready. Then I can mix and match for scrappy satisfaction.

Sing along with me to the Rawhide theme:

Ironing, cutting, sewing;
Keep those strip sets moving;
Ironing, cutting, sewing, woo hoo!

We want them to be scrappy,
So keep those strips sets coming,
Ironing, cutting sewing, we’re done!

Clue 3: ready to sew the 2 strips together.

Clue 3: ready to sew the 2 strips together.

Well, I’m not done yet, but I should finish tomorrow. I’ve sewn more than half of them.

See what others have done at the clue 3 link-up.

It’s a boy!

December 8, 2014

At least, it will be soon. Linda and I share a hairdresser. She will be having her first child any day now. Last Friday, I had my last appointment until she comes back from maternity leave. After she finished with me, I told her she was free to have the baby. Of course, Linda and I made a quilt for the baby.

Cara with the quilt.

Cara with the quilt.

We used the free Wonky Zoo Pens pattern from Fabri-Quilt. It’s foundation pieced. When Linda printed the patterns, the blocks didn’t print out square. We don’t know why. That wasn’t a big deal. I just trimmed the full blocks to the correct size. For the side and corner blocks, I couldn’t figure out how to make the adjustment. It didn’t seem to matter – everything fit well enough.

In August, we did a Row by Row shop hop day in Lancaster county. We got the sashing and backing fabric at Sauder’s. The inner border/binding and crayon border came from The Old Country Store. The fabrics for my blocks came from stash. Linda bought hers because she doesn’t stash tone-on-tone “go withs”. We each pieced half the blocks. I assembled the top. Linda quilted it. I did the binding. Linda wasn’t able to be with me when I gave the quilt to Cara last week because her daughter had a baby a couple of weeks earlier – also a boy.

Front of quilt

Front of quilt. The border fabric is crayons.

Back of quilt

Back of quilt

Close up of backing. Animals in balloons.

Close up of backing. Animals in balloons.

While we were making the blocks, Linda mis-read what she was supposed to make and we ended up with an extra half-block. No problem. It was perfect for the label.

The label.

The label.

Close up of label text

Close up of label text

Close up of quilting

Close up of quilting

Close up of quilting

Close up of quilting

Close up of quilting

Close up of quilting

Cara was thrilled with the quilt. She better have that baby soon so she’ll be ready to come back and do my cut and color in early February. I’ll probably be cutting bits off here and there before that.

Grand Illusion: part 1 done, part 2 on hiatus

December 8, 2014

When last we spoke, I was cutting clue 1. By Tuesday afternoon last week, I was almost finished cutting the 180 pairs of half-square triangles for clue 1. I started reading some of the link-ups and noticed that they all talked about 280 pairs of triangles. What? 280? I went back to check the instructions and sure enough, I was going to be 100 pairs short. More cutting. Sigh. I finished cutting the triangles with the Go! value die about 5:45 pm on Wed. At 7:15 pm, the triangle die I ordered arrived. The delivery wasn’t without drama. I went to get the package off the porch. It was a small box which didn’t seem right. I opened it – wasn’t the die. Finally thought to check the label – the package was for someone down the street. Went there and swapped the packages. Came home with my die and wrote a note about why their package was opened and went back down to their house to put the note in the box. If we have more triangles to cut in future clues, I’m all set now with the correct die.

Ready to sew clue 1.

Ready to sew clue 1.

They are laid out like that so I could get the maximum scrappiness with the triangles. I’m weird that way.

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Clue 1 units finished.

Clue 1 half-square triangles set aside.

Clue 1 half-square triangles set aside.

My quilt guild had the holiday luncheons this week. I won a door prize which contained a package of Thermal Thimbles. I love these. I’d been thinking I needed something like this and now I have them.

Thermal Thimbles in action.

Thermal Thimbles in action.

For clue 2, I decided to use the 3rd option – rectangles and squares with bonus half-square triangles. I cut and marked the squares. The clue is on hiatus until the rectangle die arrives.

Clue 2 squares, marked and ready to sew.

Clue 2 squares, marked and ready to sew.

While I’m waiting on that I’m picking up where I left off a year ago on Celtic Solstice.

A mess of Celtic Solstice.

A mess of Celtic Solstice.

I ordered the triangle in a square die for the clue 1 pieces that haven’t been cut yet. In the meantime I can sort out which fabrics have been cut and which need to be cut and get things more organized. If I can get everything cut for Celtic Solstice, I can work on it when I’m away for the holiday.

When I was in Houston this summer, my cousin gave me a bulb from an amaryllis plant that was given to our great-grandmother, Rachel Arbaugh Bennett, as a wedding gift in 1889. My cousin inherited our great-granmother’s plant from our grandmother. I was afraid the bulb wouldn’t grow after spending a couple of months in a plastic bag before being replanted. But, it is thriving.

It not only grew, it is in bloom.

It not only grew, it is in bloom.

Take a look at other’s progress on the Grand Illusion Mystery.


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