buriedinscraps

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Archive for the tag “civil war quilts”

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Yes, it’s that time again; where we look back and reflect on the good times as well as play woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Then we make our resolutions only to have them become a far away memory by February.  I don’t know about you but I’ve long since given up on New Year’s resolutions.  Who needs the pressure! 🙂 By the end of January I was beating myself up because I hadn’t done enough to change the world.  So I haven’t made one for many years.

But there’s something about this year that’s making me want to make a “strong suggestion” to myself this year.  You get to that point where you realize you have a whole lot more years behind you than you have in front of you.  And I want to spend those years healthier than I am now.  I have no real health issues and I want to keep it that way!  This is the year that I hope to lose those crummy 15 pounds I’ve been playing with the past few years, eat a healthier diet (bye-bye processed food…except wine :-)) and maybe actually exercise!   OMG…I said the “E” word!  I’m also looking into yoga.  Not promising anything.  Not “resolving” anything.  Just strongly suggesting to myself that this is the year I  take control of me.  Those in my house can come along for the ride if they dare!

We saw the movie “Lincoln” last night (short review–great movie..go see it!) and at one point toward the end, Abe turns to his wife and says “We need to try to be happier.”  And that will be my mantra this year…I need to try to be happier.  I’m not terribly unhappy, but I could be happier.  And it’s my goal to do just that!  Fortunately, quilting makes me happy!

I’ve been working on a quilt for MiniQuilter for over two years.  Took me forever because it was hand-embroidered.  The top is finally put together and it’s awaiting quilting.

basket_blockShe loves the 30s fabrics and this quilt pattern was perfect for them.  I was originally going to send the quilt out to be quilted, but I think Grandma should quilt it.  So that is my goal.  And I DO resolve to finish this quilt!

basket_quiltI can’t give her this quilt until I make one for her brother.  (Good thing I only have two grandchildren!)  I’ve been looking for a pattern for a quilt for MarioFan without much luck.  I was in the grocery store with my husband and thumbed through McCall’s American Loves Scrap Quilts and there it was! Paper Chain!

paper_chainI think it’s a perfect pattern for a boy’s quilt.  The picture of the finished quilt is a page from the magazine and the block is my test block.  It went together really well and pretty quickly.  I’m thinking I want to make it basically in blues and browns with a little bit of green and/or red.  I’m kind of excited!  The new year needs a new project!  And I resolve to finish this one also!

chain_blockWhat are your quilting resolutions….or “strong suggestions”?

How time flies…

…when you’re having fun.  Or supposed to be!

After getting through Thanksgiving with little or no drama–no dropped pies or turkeys that didn’t cook–decorating for Christmas should be  a piece of cake.

It’s a tradition (or a curse–not sure which) to decorate the weekend of Thanksgiving.  Since this was Mr. Christmas’ (aka my husband) first post-retirement Christmas, decorating should be a snap this year!  Or not…   It’s well documented that when we decorate, the rest of the family scatters to the four winds.  No one wants to be around when the battles begin.  Getting  a pre-lit tree has helped tremendously in curtailing the not so festive words that would fly around the tree trying to get the lights wrapped around the branches just right.  And, yeah, those nuggets came from me.  Mr. C was always too busy having a holly, jolly Christmas.  No holly, jolly for me until the decorating is done.

This year we were getting an early start–a whole day early.  Maybe this wouldn’t be a lost weekend after all!  Step One…assemble the tree.  You know, as they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt….or the tree falls over.  Yep, our tree decided to keel over.  The “trunk” bent and we watched it fall like a giant redwood in our living room.  Mr. C decided to just bend the trunk back the other way and it should be good to go for one more year.  Oh yeah…that worked…for about 60 seconds.  Tim-ber!!  It came down again.  Two choices…tie it to the window locks or buy a new one.  We had a tree that had to be tied up back in the day.  Even though we tried to make it look festive by tying it with red ribbon, the bottom line was it just looked tacky.  So, off to the store we went.  By this time Mr. C was no longer holly, jolly and since I wasn’t to begin with, you can imagine the mood in the car.  Add to that a little thing we call “Black Friday” and I think you know where this went!

The store was not very crowded–grateful for that.  They were also not very cheap.  If I need to buy a new tree I’m the day after Christmas bargain hunter, so I was stunned by the prices.  Narrowed it down to two and couldn’t decide–should I go cheap or go pretty?  Mr. C reminded me that we weren’t buying a house …just a Christmas tree.  PICK ONE!!  OK…so I went with pretty.

Later on that evening, MiniQuilter and MarioFan came by to “help” decorate the tree.  I’ll admit to being a little bit tyrannical particular with ornament placement.  It comes naturally—my grandmother was the queen of the ornament placers!  I had to keep reminding myself that in a couple of years they won’t want to help decorate and I”ll be sad.  But WHY do kids find the butt-ugly ornaments–the ones you just can’t bring  yourself to toss out for whatever reason–and put them right in the front of the tree?

Right in the front where i have to look at it every time I pass by!  Is it a kid thing?

But when it was all said and done the tree was pretty and it was finished in one day.  Sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and Mr. Christmas with a beer, it looked pretty and festive.

Which gave me all day Sunday to sew.  I had made a baby quilt for the granddaughter of a good friend.  It’s an I Spy quilt.  Picked up the kit for $7–all cut out and ready to go.  Pieced it quickly and it looked cute.  I decided that since I had a poly batt, I’d use that.  After I started to stitch-in-the-ditch, I remembered why I don’t use poly.  I like flat quilts and this had too  much loft  for me.  Too late to change horses now.  So I plugged along.  I did some nice swirlies in the border–several times.  I had to “unsew” and resew because the backing folded over and was caught in the stitching.  I don’t know how many times I have to do this before I learn.  Apparently…several!

My favorite part not) of quiltmaking was up next…the binding.  It actually went on pretty well for a change.  But I have lots of trouble with mitered corners.  Mine do not look nice.

Maybe it’s practice..maybe it’s me.  I just know I’m not happy with the results.  So I walked away from it and came back to it later.  It didn’t look so bad.  The baby won’t my mistakes.  And I don’t think his mom will either!

Still gearing up for Barbie…   🙂

And the winner is……

ME!!

Yep!  I won first place in the Large Quilt category at our quilt show this weekend for my Civil War Tribute quilt.  I feel validated as a quilter.  It’s one thing when your family and friends tell you your work is good.  But it’s something else when strangers think so, too.  See…I guess there are traditional people out there after all!  My husband was looking for the big check.  He’s a funny man!

The Best of Show was a pictoral wallhanging…very pretty.  It was interesting how she made the fabric patterns work for her.  A little broidrey perse I think.  (Yeah, I’m pretty sure I spelled that wrong!)

We had about 20 vendors…most of whom I made very happy with my purchases. 🙂  Picked up some fabrics for Grandmother’s Choice and a couple of  patterns and just lots of things!  A girl can’t have too many things, you know!  I took my grandchildren to the show on Sunday and they bought out the resale shop.  They spent $6 and walked out with two shopping bags of “stuff”.  One man’s stuff is another man’s junk.  I’m just glad the junk stuff went home with them and not to my house.  I have enough junk stuff of my own!

It was a very busy weekend.  Setting up, working at the show and taking the show down.  But my husband and I still managed to go to Shipshewanna on Monday….where I bought more repro fabrics and another pattern.  Laying in supplies for the winter. 🙂  We also bought an old window from a church in Mexico.  I’m planning to make a piece of patchwork to frame behind it and hang it above the door in my front entry.  It will be very nice when it’s finished.  My husband is very smart…he put it right next to my sewing machine so that it’s the first thing I see when I sit down to sew.  Clever man!

Enjoy this slideshow of some of my favorite quilts from the show.  Which is your favorite?  Mine is the one with the ribbon on it! 🙂

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Got any of these?

Raise your hand if you have any of these stashed away someplace.  We all have them lurking in our quilting places.  I have a confession…I love fat quarter bundles!  Hello…my name is Candy and I love fat quarter bundles.  I buy them whenever and wherever I can.  I buy them often and with no regrets!  There’s something about a nice stack of coordinating fabrics, neatly folded and tied up with a ribbon that makes it seem like Christmas.  With one big difference…on Christmas morning, I have absolutely no problem tearing into packages.  Ribbons are no barrier to me!

But fat quarter ribbons…that’s another story all together.  I have the hardest time untying those ribbons to get at the fabric they hold together.  As if the fabrics will somehow lose their beauty or appeal if I separate them.  You can’t split up the children!  I’ll bet you think I’m a little goofy.  You wouldn’t be the first to think that!  To make this story even more strange, when I finally bring myself to untie the bundle and cut into the fabrics, I like to try to put them back with the same ribbon.  (OK–so lock me up!  🙂  )  Seems like once I sort them and put them with friends of the same color or style they aren’t new anymore!  And we all love new fabric!

BUT!!  We all buy fabric to use…to cut …to stitch…  At least most of the time we do.  🙂  Many, many years ago, there was a woman in our quilt guild who loved fabric.  (No, not me!  Although I love fabric, this isn’t about me.)  She went on every bus trip and visited every quilt shop she could and she bought beautiful fabrics—yards and yards of them.  However, they were so beautiful that she would never cut them.  I’d bet the farm she didn’t even own a pair of scissors. ..didn’t need them.  We never saw so much as a potholder made from that glorious stash.  Of course, the new quilter that I was, I was cutting everything that wasn’t fast enough to escape the blades!  Now, I can kind of relate to her…sort of.

I love my fabrics and it takes a while before I cut them.  But I do cut them.  And I do stitch them.  And I think I do pretty darn good job of it!  I realized that those beauties are still with me in my quilts…just transformed into triangles and squares instead of fat quarters.  It’s what they’re meant to be.

Anybody else like this?  Please say yes…….

The quilt whisperer…

Maybe some of you remember this quilt….

This is my Civil War tribute quilt that I was too cowardly to quilt myself.  My fmq skills were nowhere near where they needed to be to wrestle with this guy.  Besides, I just wasn’t confident enough to tackle it no matter what size it was!  I cried “Uncle” and decided to have it quilted by a local long arm quilter.

I was pretty nervous about leaving my “baby”.  I felt like I did when I left my son at college for the first time.  (Although I don’t think I had to worry about my quilt walking on the wild side!)  I was apprehensive to say the least.

One of the biggest reasons I did not quilt this myself is that I’m design challenged when it comes to quilting.  I never know how to begin…I never know where to put which motifs…or if I should put a motif at all!  That’s why I end up stippling or meandering or some such thing.  I feel it’s better to wander than to have to live with botched florals for all eternity!  I looked at that quilt and I had  no idea what to do with it.  So I put myself on the waiting list for the long arm quilter.

The day finally came when I was to take my baby to camp and leave it.  I “dethreaded” it, pressed it, pressed the backing, hung it on a hanger and left for the quilter.  When I arrived at her house she asked me about how I would like it quilted.  I told her I had no idea.  She spread the quilt out and looked at it and ran her hands over it and started to tell me how she would quilt it.  I was stunned when she finished…it was exactly what I wanted…except I didn’t know it until she told me!  It was like the quilt told her how it should be finished.  I’ve seen shows on television about dog whispers and horse whisperers.  I think she must be a quilt whisperer! ( Wouldn’t that be an awesome show!)

Here’s the sort of finished product.  Sort of finished because it still needs the binding.  And I think I’ve documented pretty well just how much I hate love to attach binding.  But it will be finished soon…our guild’s show is early October.

Each block is quilted individually with designs where they were appropriate….some with feathers, some not.  There’s a viney, leafy design in the sashing and the border is quilted with straight lines to give the illusion of a pieced border.  She used three thread colors….something I wouldn’t do…I have enough trouble using one!  She thought that the thread shouldn’t overpower the blocks.  I liked the subtlety of that.

Enjoy my  little slideshow of some of the blocks.  Ah…to quilt like that………………………

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Virginia

My husband and I share an interest in the Civil War. (No, not the Cub/Sox battle that we wage each baseball season.)  In recent years, we’ve visited some battlefield sites and homes.  They are interesting trips, but at the same time, they’re sad.  Walking through the battlefields, it’s easy to imagine the battle that took place.  But it’s also hard to imagine what it actually felt like.  It’s bittersweet….it’s a piece of history tinged with such heartache.

This summer, we decided to visit Richmond, Virginia.  We toured several battlefields, a shrine to the fallen General Stonewall Jackson and Appomattox.  We wanted to see where the surrender took place…where finally someone decided enough was enough. They call it the place where the country was reunited.  I like the sound of that better!

Appomattox is a really a neat little town.  Old storefronts, antique shops, a book store.  Yes!  A book store.  I was beginning to think they were a thing of the past…thanks to Mr. Kindle.  We wandered through an antique store where there were some quilts for sale at a very reasonable price.  But they weren’t very pretty and were pretty well-worn.  So, I left them there.

One of the small shop owners recommended the Babcock House for lunch.  Her reason for recommending it…you won’t find anything fried there.  At that point of the trip, that sounded great!  So off to the Babcock House for lunch.  The Tarragon Chicken Salad was awesome!  We had to try the Hummingbird Cake.  It was terrific.  But the calories I saved from the no-fry zone were spent on dessert!  Worth every one of them….  I might have taken a picture of our lunch but I was too busy enjoying every bite of it!

A stop at the Museum of the Confederacy was next.  There were a lot of really neat things there.  I was interested in the uniforms.  They were displaying the uniform that General Lee wore to his meeting with Grant.  I’m still amazed at how well-preserved many of the uniforms are.  Imagine this!  I even bought a quit pattern there!

Into Appomattox Courthouse.  It was a little town at the time of the war and it’s been restored by the National Park Service.  The building that I was most intrigued with was the McLean House.  This is where the papers were signed.  The house was initially taken apart around 1900.  A company was going to bring it north and rebuild it as a tourist attraction.  The company went bankrupt and the National Park Service rebuilt it on the original site using what they could salvage.  It’s only off by a quarter of an inch they tell me.  Most of the furniture and quilts are period pieces although they did not belong to the McLean family.

This is a bed and trunk that was in the guest room.  That quilt is actually around 150 years old.  (I’d like to look that good now!)

This quilt is also around 150 years old.  It’s in the master bedroom.  It’s in beautiful condition.  Fortunately, you can get a little bit closer to this quilt than the others.

This old sewing machine was in one of the bedrooms.  We’ve come a long way, Baby!  Imagine trying to maneuver a quilt under that needle!

This is maybe my favorite.  Love the colors! It was in the slave quarters.  I love it because it’s scrappy and well-loved…and it’s easy to believe this one is as old as it is.  I wish the antique store had one of these!

Covered by Glory

Saturday, my husband and I took a road trip to Waterloo, Iowa to see the Covered by Glory quilt exhibit at the Grout Museum.   Five hours one way…worth it to see quilts!!  We first visited the Veteran’s Museum.  It was an interactive museum that traces Iowan soldiers from the Civil War to the present.  You’re given a dog tag at the entrance and you are that soldier throughout the museum.  At many exhibits, you can scan that tag to find out how the conflict affected you.  I learned something that I still find hard to believe.  Apparently only 25% of men fighting in Viet Nam were drafted.  That number seems low and I may have to check that out.  I know that has nothing to do with quilts, but I found it interesting. We spent about ninety minutes there and then on to the quilt exhibit.

In a previous post, I wrote about being too timid to ask about taking photos and many of you encouraged me to at least ask at the museum!  So, I put my camera in my purse and when we entered the museum I asked if photography was allowed. The woman behind the counter said no one had ever asked that before so she asked someone else and I was told photography was OK without a flash.  When we arrived at the quilt exhibit, there was a sign that said No Photography.  Darn!!  Now, my husband and I are people who always follow the rules.  Everyone else is breaking them and there we are watching them get ahead and we putz along following the rules.  So I pointed to the sign and my husband says  “She said you could without a flash”.  We were the only people in the exhibit and I made the decision to take pictures.  I know that flash will harm the fabric, but no flash will do no damage.  It’s just so rare to see Civil War era quilts….   I will apologize in advance for the quality.  Museum light is not the best for flashless photography and it was a pretty small area and I couldn’t always get the best angle.  Not my best work….

The quilt exhibit was quilts from the Civil War and tribute quilts made since then. There were not many actual Civil War quilts in the exhibit…there are very few in existence.  Those that were exhibited were not in pristine condition but I can imagine the stories that they could tell!  There were two Rose of Sharon quilts hung side by side that were interesting.  One was the original made in 1866 and the other was a modern version.  The modern version was made from patterns that were traced from the original.  The maker made a few changes but it was interesting to see them side by side.  There were two embroidered quilts that were made by the Women’s Relief Corps right after the war.  Many of the quilts were modern miniature quilts made with the reproduction fabrics.  A few quilts from the Civil War Diary book and a couple of Dear Janes.  (I am in awe of anyone who finishes a Dear Jane.  That is quite an accomplishment!)   There was an interesting story with one of the quilts about a young girl (three years old) who was very upset that her big brother was going off to war.  He promised her he would come back and bring her a china doll. He didn’t come back but soon a box came in the mail with a china doll inside. Years later, she was talking with a Civil War veteran and he told her the story of a young soldier that he met.  The soldier was dying and told the veteran how he had promised his little sister a china doll and after the soldier passed, the veteran bought a doll and sent it to the young girl.  It certainly brought a tear to my eye.  Even though the exhibit was small, it was definitely worth the trip.  The exhibit is open until September.

Enjoy the slideshow!!

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Catching up…

I had such a busy weekend–stove shopping (old one bit the dust), grandkids on Saturday night, Mother’s Day and a wedding on Sunday–it left little time to sew.

My plan was to sew for most of the day…MiniQuilter had other ideas.  Last week, she convinced Grandpa that she and her brother should make Mother’s Day breakfast for me.  She sent him to the store for berries and flowers and all kinds of good things.  She’s very good at spending someone else’s money and she’s only eight!  What a bright future she has!  🙂  It wasn’t a bad idea until the stove decided to croak.  Darn burners wouldn’t shut off.  Of course, my husband was going to shut them off one way or another.  Took the pliers to them and, of course, broke off the stem and the rest is history.  Managed to shut off the gas completely.  The stove was old so a new one was in our immediate future.

What to do about my “surprise” breakfast?  Sausage and eggs on the grill!  I had to stay in bed and pretend to be asleep until breakfast was on the table…not an easy feat for a woman of a certain age…if you know what I mean!  🙂  But it was worth it to listen to Grandpa (who has little patience with anyone else in the kitchen) try to cook with two eight year old mini-chefs!  At last I was allowed to awaken for the feast.  Food was good and the company exceptional.  Had to watch a few dance routines to some Beatle songs.  I guess you can see where my sewing time went.  But I’d gladly give it up for those memories.  I’m just sad that the battery in my video camera wasn’t charged so there were no incriminating images of the dance routines to use at a later date…like prom night or something!  heh  heh  heh…..

Then waiting for the stove to be delivered.  Believe that–delivered on a Sunday.  While waiting for its arrival, I went down into the palace and thought I’d practice fmq.  I knew I had some “sammies” ready to go.  Do you think I could find them?  Heck no!  Since I revamped  the place, I can’t find anything!  Searched for about a half an hour and found them right in front of my nose.  By then, it was time to get ready for the wedding and I sewed zero stitches.  😦

But here’s the plan for this week,  I finished piecing this charity quilt and I want to put it on my frame.  I want to see if my research into needle, bobbin and thread combinations will help my persnickety Juki play nice with my frame.

I have this fat quarter bundle that I’d like to put into a small quilt.  When I bought them, they spoke to me.  They have since become mute.  Or I’ve gone deaf!  Either way, we’re not communicating!  I’ll keep poking around for a project.

And my little “sammies”—I vow to practice “zippling” and get back on track with Leah’s project!

It’s here!

My cabinet was supposed to be shipped on Friday and delivered next week.  I planned on organizing the palace this weekend.  I came home from work Wednesday afternoon and hit the couch for a well-deserved nap when there came a knock on the door and my husband answered.  I was expecting a new light for my new cabinet.  The light doesn’t come in four boxes.  Mr. Fed Ex Guy kept bringing in boxes.  We closed the door and stared at the boxes.  No nap today.  The best laid plans…..

We sprang into action.  I went into the palace and opened the closet door.  I nearly wept with frustration.  Oh dear!  So  many boxes and piles.  I started to pull down boxes from the top shelf labeled with #2 son’s  ten year old penmanship.  They were filled with crap baseball cards.  Not wanting to be the mother that accidentally throws away a potential fortune, I called him.  We went over each box–want it or not?  Not too many “no”s.  Hmmm…this wasn’t going to be easy.  I asked him about a particular game and he informed me that it wasn’t even his.  So I’ve been storing someone else’s stuff for twelve years!  As if I don’t have enough stuff of my own to store!  We decided what would make the trek with us this summer and what would wait and vacation with us next year.  I gained a half of a shelf.

Packed up the magazines and hauled them out before I could change my mind.  I did find some old flour sacks and 50s era kitchen linens and embroideries.  Kept them.  Put UFOs that are in the “dream” stage–pattern, fabric thread, no stitches (essentially “kits”) into a pile.  I piled the true UFOs together so I know where each and every one is.  I also found a stack of orphan blocks that I can use for fmq practice.  Now, I can open the door and see what I have.  It’s still jam-packed but it’s organized chaos!

Convinced the husband to order pizza for dinner so we could continue working.  Moved out the cutting table and the old computer table.  Moved my current sewing table to the other side of the room for my computer.  That was a challenge because the table is actually a big corner unit and there wasn’t a whole lot of room to turn it.  But after several bad words (my husband even made some up when he ran out of the standards) and some smashed appendages, it’s found its new home.  Set up the computer, turned off the light and had a glass of wine.  Whew!  I was tired!

So here are the last photos I took in there before the “renovation” began.  The Gettysburg Sun is coming along nicely.  I have two spots where I didn’t stitch in the ditch very well.  Looked like I fell into the ditch once too often.  I totally roamed.  When I feel like something doesn’t look right, I walk away from it and the next day the mistakes are not so glaring.  Coming back two days later , these still jumped out at me.  There’s nothing to do for it now except to “unsew” them.  I don’t think I’ll be happy with the quilt if I don’t.  So “unsew” I will!  😦

Here’s hoping I’ll have things back in place soon and the “magic” will once again flow from the palace!

He’s the best!

In my post Warning! about running out of room in my sewing palace, pearlygirl03 posted this link to plans for a cutting table.  My husband agreed that it was do-able.  I was hoping it was do-able in this lifetime…he works sloooowly.  (Maybe that’s where MiniQuilter gets it!)  We were discussing it this morning before I went to work.  I thought that rather than a plywood top, a laminate countertop would be better.  Probably pricier…but better.  I came home from work today and there was piece of laminate cut to size and finished on all edges!  It was even blue!!  He is absolutely the best!  Fortunately, he doesn’t read this blog so he won’t get the big head because I went on about him.  🙂  Too bad we can’t get to Ikea before next weekend.  Darn!!!

I was quilting on my Gettysburg Sun quilt this afternoon and decided to quit.  I could not fmq a straight line to save my life!  I was trying to stitch in the ditch.  Let’s just say that if I were driving a car, I’d be sitting in jail right now.  Those lines were just weaving all over the place.  Thought I should quit while I was ahead.  Decided not to sew any more tonight.  When I get everything set up for fmq, I hate to undo it.  Pretty lazy, huh!  I want to watch the hockey game anyway!

To keep things interesting, here’s a sneak peek at Gettysburg Sun…without any quilting.  🙂  Before I ran into the ditch!!

Update:   Looks like I’m having some issues with the photo I inserted.  Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t.  I took the easy way out to edit it and I think it wasn’t such a good idea!  I’ll fix it…I promise!  And…does anyone know why sometimes I can insert a smiley and sometimes I can’t?

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