Lucy Boston

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lucy Boston for March

Thanks to everyone for checking in on me and my
Lucy Patchwork of the Crosses blocks - 
I'm still loving making them, maybe too much so!
as I may have made more than I need...
AND I have more Civil War repro fabrics
grouped to make even more blocks.
I just can't stop.
I'm telling you, it really is an addiction.
I have a problem. :)
It there a support group for quilters addicted to English paper piecing? 
Hello, my name is Debra
and I'm an addict,
Lucy POTC is my problem.
So, that being said,

I did not meet my March goal  of connecting Lucy blocks. 
Bummer. 
(The goal for the first half of this year is to connect 10 blocks a month.)
Only half got done this time.
Oh well, sometimes things have to give,
and this month it was my Lucy.

Knowing my schedule for this weekend,
and with the calendar page turning soon after that,
I decided this was it for the month for me , so time to share -
my five newly connected blocks (and a floater) are on the left:
mylifeisastitch.blogspot.com
March 2014 - five more blocks connected
The other five blocks for March did not meet up with my
needle and thread and little blue connecting squares.
Good news though,
I have a few days of quilting retreat planned
in a couple of weeks, so maybe I'll get caught up then.

Happy end of March, and
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring flowers, wonder, and a quilt goes to a wedding

Still cold and snowy as I finished up a commission quilt this week...
so a little feeling of Spring is in the air
with these Spring-looking Dresden flowers:
A young gal is going to use this quilt
(pieced by her maternal grandmother) 
in her wedding this summer.
Won't that be such a special part of her wedding memories?
I know, that's really reaching for Spring on my part. :)
 
Anyway, I  got to finish this one! 
When the quilt top came here for some finishing help,
it had basting only in more that a handful of blocks.
The blocks that were already hand-appliqued down still had their basting stitches.  There were a few background fabric squares that were frayed to the point of being out of square.  It definitely needed some TLC.

Here's a before picture (notice the missing corner blocks):
For the repairs, besides all the hand stitching that needed to be done,
I traced a matching Dresden template,
found some old fabrics
and a couple of new reproductions
and stitched up four new corner blocks.
I layered it on the long-arm machine and started meandering:
I did flowery petals in each of the Dresden blades,
and a loop and leaf meander over the creamy muslin background.
Here's a better picture of the hand-guided quilting from the back:
 
Whenever I come across unfinished quilt tops like this it makes me wonder...

I wonder why there were no corner pieces made...
was it made this way purposefully
to drape around the corners of a four-poster bed?
(though the 'drop' is only 8 inches).

Did she run out of background fabric so she couldn't finish it?

I wonder, if after all of those
Dresden and half Dresden plates
were hand-stitched and hand-appliqued down and
then the blocks were hand-pieced together,
that the maker just didn't feel like stitching any more?

Or possibly, as there were definitely two different styles of hand-stitching,
she had worked on this particular
quilt over years and years,
(possibly after her eyesight had dimmed)
in between other needed quilts
and just never got back to the remaining Dresdens?

I know I have unfinished quilt tops like the last scenario...
instead of making a decision on the final border or blocks or pieces, I just tuck it away and work on the next quilt that 'needs' to be done for some reason or other.

But back to the quilt at hand: 
after I did the Dresden-piecing and hand-stitching,
then repairing,
quilting and labeling,
putting in those final stitches in the binding,
and seeing this beautiful quilt come to life...
I feel that I should dig out the almost done quilt tops
from my closet,
the ones that I've tucked away unfinished
and show them some lovin' too...
so  that I do not leave quilty questions and wonder. 
Quilts can only talk so much.

Don't you wish quilts could tell their whole life story?

Thanks, Stella,
for letting me finish this beauty
for your son's wedding.
It is such a nice feeling knowing
that this quilt will attend a family wedding this summer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

another snowy day: Big Tree block & accumulation!

Today I've finished my March block
in the Quilt Doodle Doodles sew along.
Here is my half-pint version of the Big Tree,
the third month's block:
The picture sure makes the block look wonky, but it really was close to square :).
And, the fabrics look brighter
than they really are, but I don't know why.
 
I'm calling my blocks 'half-pint', as I'm making them smaller in size
than the pattern that Cindy is offering over at Quilt Doodle Doodles.
My little squares are 3/4 of an inch finished.
 
So, working on this wintry tree block this afternoon,
I turn to look out the window and
it's a blizzard out there!!
Well, not really, but for the last week of March?
Blizzard-like for sure...
I took this picture at about 4 o'clock this afternoon:
That's more than an inch of accumulation in less than half an hour, and it's still coming down!
Even the robins are going under the deck, trying to hide from the snow!

Another snowy day here in central Ohio...
Snowy inside with my wintry, little Big Tree block and
outside with more snowfall predicted for the evening and a wind chill of zero!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

supposedly Spring

Though the calendar says that today is the beginning of Spring,
it sure doesn't feel like it here.  And more snow is predicted this week.

On my daily walk down to the mailbox and back,
I'm on the lookout for the first flowers of the season
pushing their way up through the earth.
This week there are a few crocuses popping up,
which is a sure sign, snow or not, that nicer weather is on it's way.

After all of my treks back and forth to the mailbox, 
I finally found flowers IN the mailbox -
as Karen sent me a quilt to meander over,
and just look at all of those flowers!!:

Isn't it a beauty??!  I love it!
A few close-ups of  flower pots:
Karen said she did this as machine applique before she started doing hand applique.
She does gorgeous work, and it was a pleasure to quilt it for her.
And it was nice to see flowers again! :)
 
Happy first day of Spring and
hope there are flowers in your day, too.
 
 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Ides Are Here! Wait, The Ides Is Here?

Ides is plural so are - Ides are here... 

Whatever,
it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

For today, the sun is shining
and it's almost 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Notice that I said today the sun is shining??
Tomorrow, temps are dropping again
and 4 to 6 inches of snow could be coming our way.
Wa-hoo! March in Ohio!!

Anyway, back to today.
It is the middle of March, the Ides...
and I have a finished quilt top!
I've entitled it
 'The Distraction of the Ides of March':
I love it.  To get a good picture, I took it out into the March sunshine and placed it onto the mossy rock pathway that leads to my back door.  It looks great, I think!
I have the backing pieced and pressed, so as soon as the long-arm machine is emptied of the 30's Dresden for a customer, this green baby is going on!

The particulars:
  • I started it on March the 3rd, 2014 (yes, THIS year!), using 'found' 10-inch squares of celtic-looking fabrics, which were a gift from a friend.  
  • I used the pattern from Terry's Treasures sew along:  Good Night Irene pattern HERE
  • You can see the beginning of my quilt and story here
Another good thing about this project?
A whole bunch of these cut-offs:
Leaders and enders to sew together
to make a whole bunch of these strings-o-squares:
Ready to trim down to perfect little 1 1/2 inch squares.
They are sure to make into something else fun!

Thanks, again, Terry for the great, fast pattern/sew along.
and Thanks, also to D, the friend that gave me the Irish Stack!

Happy Ides of March!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jackpot!! and memories

I had a very nice email the end of last week...
an email saying that I had won in a drawing!!!
JACKPOT! I say.

Thearica at Pigtails and Quilts is always doing some fun things,
and she was having a giveaway.
I LOVED the hand-crafted game board she offered in the drawing...
The Parcheesi board offered was BEA-U-TI-FUL!
I, of course, registered RIGHT away.
I also went right away and visited the makers of the board,
James and Michelle at their Etsy site:  JohnnyUNameth.
So many memories when seeing
all of the game boards they make -
Memories of childhood came flooding back!
Memories of playing games with my siblings
and parents and at Grandma B's with cousins.
Such fun times and such great memories.
Anyway, this came to my door this week!!:
Parcheesi board from JohnnyUNameth
It is so wonderful!  The workmanship is top notch and the painting is beautiful .  So beautiful that I think I will hang it as artwork while it is not being played.
It was hard to get a picture without a glare,
so I finally propped it up on a stack of quilts.
I think it will look very nice in my great room as part of the d├ęcor, don't you?

Happy dance!
Thank you Thearica
and thank you to James and Michelle
for this wonderful board...
It's memory-making time!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

another day, another unstitch

It was a good, late afternoon...
I'd been stitching away on my Ides of March quilt blocks...
aka Good Night Irene  (from Terry's Sew Along).
I had all 31 of the 16-patch blocks done
plus all 31 of the X-blocks done!
So, I started on my border pieces and
made 36 of these:
See how nice they look?  Ready to sew into pairs!

Hold your horses, or whatever you hold when something just doesn't look right...
Maybe I was working too long, or too late...
because after they were
all made,
and trimmed,
and pressed,
I realized that I really needed
36 pieces with
ONLY ONE CORNER OF GREEN 
so I could make 18 of these:
And because of limited fabric
 (I was using the 'found' stack of ten inch squares)
I had to unstitch all of these half-square triangles:
so I could re-stitch them.
And re-stitch them I did! 
Right then!
Before I called it a night.
Here they are - re-done, ready to trim and press:
But wait, OK, now I know it's time for bed!
Notice the block on the right compared to the blocks on the left:
What you don't want is the one on the right!
What would be left if you trimmed off that flip-y corner?
Not a square!!
Glad I only sewed ONE of those 36 triangles
back on the wrong way.
 
Tomorrow afternoon,
after I check and double-check all of my late-night-sewn blocks,
I plan on sewing all the blocks together.
Hopefully there are no more problem blocks, as 
I want to get this quilt finished for the Ides of March
so it can live up to it's name!
 
Good Night (Irene)!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

blue: birds & hope & berries

Though it's still FRrrr-eezing here
the sun is out and melting last weekend's snow;
and we change our clocks this weekend to Daylight Saving Time,
so we'll have a little more daylight into the evening hours.
That makes me happy.

The bluebirds are here visiting the back forty, and
I spied my first robin this week.
Those are sure signs that
the freezer door may be closing
weather pattern may be finally changing.
Happy, Happy!!

While at the grocery this week, I found a beautiful basket
of blue hope, aka blueberries.
 and they sure cheered me up when I saw them.
Those blueberries (from Chile) prove that there is warm weather somewhere in the world,
and another sign that Spring will be here soon!
Happy, Happy, Happy!!!

What's better than sunshine,
bluebirds,
and blueberries?
In my book, better would be
if the blueberries where dropped into muffins!

So, in honor of the surely coming Spring,
I made me some muffins...well, I made muffin-tops:
I've been asked for the recipe a few times lately,
so thought I'd share so you can make them also
and maybe have some blueberry goodness in your world today.

Blueberry Muffins -
the Good Kind of Blueberry Muffins (as the kids used to say, though I don't know why.  They must have had muffins somewhere, sometime that weren't made from the family favorite recipe).
(And, it's only a quarter of the original recipe, you're welcome :)
In mixing bowl, stir together:
1 1/2 cups flour (I use half wheat)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder

In liquid measuring cup whisk together:
1/3 cup oil (I use extra virgin Olive or coconut)
1 egg
Add:
1/3 cup milk (or enough to make measurement ONE cup)
Stir the liquids into the dry mixture and stir only until dry is incorporated.
Gently fold in a generous cup of fresh blueberries.
Spoon mixture into well-buttered muffin cups and top with Streusel.

Streusel - stir together with a fork until crumbly:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon 

Bake at 400 degrees:
muffin tops about 13-15 minutes
regular sized muffins 30-40 minutes.
Test with toothpick.  They are done when toothpick comes out with little moist crumbs, not coated with liquid.
Makes 6 generously-sized muffins or tops.

Cool completely before removing from pans (yeah, right :)
and store in airtight container or freeze for later use.

Can you tell from the picture that I probably didn't wait until they cooled to plop one onto the awaiting plate?? :)
Just what I needed - blueberry goodness, fresh from the oven!

Hope there are some bluebirds, sunshine, and blueberries
in your little part of the world today, too.
And Happy Stitching!

Monday, March 3, 2014

ides of march countdown distraction

When working on straightening  
the 'studio',
(though it's so messy I think it should now be called
the storage room) this past week...
 
First distraction:
I found a wonderful stack of 10 inch squares
of green/shamrock-y/Celtic-looking fabrics.
A friend gave me this stack of
40  fabrics a couple of years ago, at least.
They were from her years of collecting Irish looking fabrics;
I had added even more, so in all, there were over 60
lovely green/shamrock-y/Celtic-looking fabrics!!
 
A half hour later,
instead of continuing the process of organizing,
I realize that I'd stopped my cleaning and
was now planning (second distraction)
a quilt made of these ten inch squares of
green/shamrock-y/Celtic-looking fabrics.

Being that I'm a little bit Irish,
and now have 'found' this great collection of fabrics,

I decided that I needed a
quilt that was a little bit Irish, too.

And it's March already!
That's me, late to the gate!!
Anyway, my mind is whirring:  (third distraction)
maybe I can get it pieced by Saint Patrick's Day,
or the middle of March,
aka Ides of March,
in Latin: Idus Martii or Idus Martiae...
is a day on the Roman calendar
that corresponds to the 15th of March.
umm, middle of March...'Ides of March'...
That's it!
I'm making an Ides of March quilt!!
 
Back to the cleaning:
surprise, surprise,
I immediately stopped the cleaning
and started to not just plan, but start another quilt!
(here came the fourth distraction)
I remembered that I had bookmarked the
with Terry's Treasures blog (thanks Terry!!).
Had I planned on doing this Sew Along now??
NO!
BUT... (famous last words)
This would be perfect I thought!
I could cut these 10 inch squares each into 2 1/2 inch strips,
mix them up and re-sew four strips back into a square,
sub-cut again into strips
to get segments for making 16-patch blocks!!
 
In the time it took me to hop/skip/jump/climb
around the piles that I had been straightening,
I had my 10 inch squares cut into strips
and then sewn back together, mixing up the colors/patterns
(after all sewn, I pressed all one direction at this point).
2 1/2 by 10 inch strips sewn into groups of four.
Notice along the top of this picture -
I saved one strip from each of the original 10" squares 
to make the 2 1/2" squares needed later for the X-blocks  in this quilt.  
I then sub-cut them, again into four, 2 1/2 inch strips
I mixed them up again, abutted the seam allowances:

& sewed four of them back together
making my 16-patch blocks:
16-patch blocks on the right,
X blocks on the left.
Below the finished blocks are segments of X-blocks
ready to press and use for the outside border.
So, there is some repetition in the squares because of how I strip-pieced them, but with 60+ fabrics, it's still very scrappy looking - which is a good thing in my book.
 
I don't know if it will be finished by March 15th, for the Ides,
but I think that I will label this one
Distraction of the Ides of March
 
Now, what was I doing?
Did I mention that I'm easily distracted??
And not just by stacks of fabric!
 
Are you working on something
for the Spring (that surely is coming as soon as the snow melts)?
And are you as easily distracted as I am?
 
Happy March and Happy Stitching!!
Really, what was I doing?
:)