Sunday, July 18, 2021

Boston UnCommon

 In the quilt world, there are pattern names and quilt names. Sometimes they're universally accepted and sometimes they are regional - same pattern, different name. Sometimes, as quilters, we think we may have even invented a new design ... which usually turns out not to be the case. 

I saw a picture of quilt called "Boston Common." I've seen different color variations of this quilt many times over the many years of making quilts and looking at quilts.

And ... I wanted to make a quilt in Red, white, and blue.

And ... I wanted it to be fairly simple piecing.

And ... I wanted it to be a decent size.

And ... I wanted it to have a bit of a WOW.

Here's the story of how I did and did NOT achieve my goals ... BOSTON UNCOMMON

Using graph paper, I drew out what I wanted and colored it in with crayons "big WOW". I counted up how many of each color square I would need and pulled lots of (red, white and blue) fabrics.  "Decent size" indicated that I should work with 6.5" squares (1st mistake). I had a small piece of "sort of patriotic" fabric and threw that into the mix.

Working with 6.5" squares and a limited amount of eagle/flag fabric meant I had to piece it. I only needed a few of these but did have to piece 2 squares - no problem, it worked.

My favorite "big WOW" quilt is using the M&M Sew Charming - 96 Charm Challenge. I cut apart and glued together my colored drawing to make sure it was going to work. Then I cut it apart again and glued it together for a sewing map.

Then I sewed the top together.

It was REALLY big and I kept going (mistake #2).

Now it was time to do the cuts. I marked the diagonal lines and stitched "less than 1/4" on each side of the line and cut ON the line.

I laid it back out to double check that the blocks did actually line up according to my colored map - and they did! ... almost.

There was something wrong with the above picture. (mistake #3).

These 2 fabrics should not have been touching.

No problem - take 1 out and replace it with a different neutral.
That's better! Time to sew up the last 2 seams.

Mistake #4 - I should have replaced it with the eagle/flag fabric.

THAT is why I had to piece the 6.5" square of eagle/flag fabric. I did and fixed it and all was right in my world ... maybe.

The quilt is HUGE!
Mistake #5 - my frame will only accommodate an 80" wide quilt.
The quilt measures out 100" x 116".

Thankfully, a dear quilter - Donna Capps - has the equipment and skills to come to my rescue. She reached out and offered, I accepted, we did a couple of drive-by drop-off/pick-ups and in 5 days - I had this beautiful (and BIG) quilt all ready for binding.

Lessons learned ... 
1. I could have (and should have) stuck with my 5" charms that I dearly love. 
2. My colored map worked great - and would have been perfect had I followed it.
3. Using scraps in what isn't actually a scrap quilt can and does work. Note to self - don't try and mix up the scraps, simply keep them in the piles by color.
4. If your gut is telling you something (this is going to be big) LISTEN.
5. Accept help from a friend.

THANK YOU Donna Capps!!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

All The Things

HOLY MOLY ... Seriously - it's July? 

I know, I know ... everyone says it, I've say it myself ALL the time, but still ... where the heck does time go? It seems to just disappear! That calendar is spinning. I'm really not a particularly busy person. Generally speaking, I do to the dentist 2x a year, the doctor 1x, and the Dermatologist 2x. All for routine stuff. I go to Quilt Guild 2x a month. Other than that, I have no regular standing appointments/commitments. AND ... I'm always busy!

We took our littlest grandie to SeaWorld. That's Gramps and her Mom (Kid#2) on the Cookie Monster ride. Amelia wasn't too sure she if like that ride but she LOVED all the others.  Did you know that all teachers in Florida get into SeaWorld for free, any time they want? What a great resource. We love SeaWorld.

I finished a shawl. Still doing lots of knitting during evening TV. This pattern was pretty simple and easy to do and still follow whatever we happen to be watching.  I loved "Atlantic Crossing" on PBS. LOVED "Schitt's Creek" and we just finished the new season of "Bosch."

The June swaps have been rearranged and are ready to go home. 58 swaps! Everyone is receiving 20 different Blue/Teal/Aqua 5" charms. This month, July, is Green/Olive.

Mangos are in abundance right now here in Florida. I love mangos. Our across-the-street neighbor has an overflowing tree in his front yard. We get all the mangos we can eat ... and I can eat a lot!

My friend Carrie (from MD and now AZ) came to visit with her husband Paul. Marjorie, Carrie and I had dinner with our 3 husbands - John, Paul, and Steve (did you think I was going to say Ringo?). We gals talked QUILTING for hours. Our tolerant husbands ate very yummy chicken cacciatore (Marjorie and John are great cooks) and then watched hockey.

I'm sewing and sewing and sewing and not finishing much. Still trying to get my Solstice Star strips sewn. In the meantime, I've started another quilt using 6.5" squares that is WAY bigger than I planned. That will involve it's very own blog post.

AND ... my iron caught on fire! Yes, it did.
It was making a kind of crackle noise and then smoke started pouring out from the tip between the sole plate and the iron body. My dear Cute Husband grabbed it and put it outside.  I have no idea why he thought the middle of the driveway was the safest place ... maybe he thought it was going to blow up? I wanted to plug it back in for a just a second to get a good picture. My dear Cute Husband thinks I should not be left alone with combustible objects.

Not much quilting talk for a quilting blog. I do have several things in the pipeline. Soon!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Savannah, Georgia

 We (My Cute Husband and I) just spent a wonderful 4 days in Savannah. What a beautiful historic district. There's is definitely "big city" stuff - construction, homeless, traffic, but the old buildings that have been saved and are now protected are just lovely. 

We visited the Juliette Gordon Low house ... home of the founder of Girl Scouts of America.

We even visited a Speakeasy in the Prohibition Museum and went on a Ghost Tour. Savannah is the most haunted city in the U.S. No ... we did not have an encounter. 

We spent 1 morning wandering around the Bonaventure Cemetery ... more visual beauty. I love walking through a cemetery - the history, it's all just so interesting.

AND - the Live Oaks dripping with Spanish Moss. I spent a lot of time walking around looking up.

It was hot but not unbearable, there was ice cream and great dinners and lots of water drinking. It was great to be out in the world, unplugged (mostly) and enjoying time together.


Friday, June 4, 2021

The Stars Aligned

 If you have been reading this blog for even a minute - you know I LOVE using leftovers and scraps, bits and parts. I wanted to use up (yeah - right!) more half-square triangles and maybe even clean off another paper plate and stitch something using MORE 1.5" strips.

You can read about how this project came to be right here ... on the M&M Sew Charming Blog.

This whole thing just went together, practically on its own. I just sewed and it's like the quilt knew what it wanted to be when it grew up. That's not to say that I didn't have a few hiccups along the way ... I am still ME!

I did NOT press and square-up between each round of sewing and I REALLY should have. The blocks didn't turn out great. I ended up trimming off a bit too much on the final round. This left me with fairly limited options for settings.

There were many possibilities for different setting options but the problem was - none of the seams that touched were going to match. It was very obvious that my stitching, pressing, squaring wasn't the best.

But ... I'm a clever gal and there was 1 option that did not require uneven seams to be hopelessly unmatched ... SASHING!!

AND ... yes, there was a hiccup (actually 2). Thankfully, when I took the photo, the errant blocks were very obvious and I could quickly correct THAT mistake.

On to the border!

I auditioned several different blacks and several different greens - nope. I was very close to going to a quilt shop and buying a border fabric ... NOOOOOOO !!!!  Keep looking. In the bottom of the bin, I found the perfect green ombre. - it was going to look awesome!

Except ...
I didn't have quite enough (of course). These hiccups were driving me crazy. Now what? I went with my favorite of all time border - piano keys. I simply pieced up some the leftover strips and strings and added it to the one side to make the border fit.


It's all quilted and squared-up and ready for binding and a label. Hopefully, no more hiccups. What could possibly go wrong? Misspell my name? I really should not have said that out loud.

Thursday, June 3, 2021


 What a week ... there was a LOT of peopling going on. As we are slowing emerging from the last many months (15 months!) of social distancing, mask wearing, staying home, we are now entering into a - NEW new normal.

M&M (Marjorie and Mary) presented a lecture and trunk show at our guild meeting - Seaside Piecemakers. We showed lots of quilts and talked about what to do with a pile of blocks - orphans, extras, trials and errors. The program was timed with the release of our last block for the 2020/2021 BOM we hosted. 

Sometimes lots of bits and parts are needed to encourage the blocks to play nice together. Other times a little framing (gets them all to the same size) and a wild sashing sets them apart.

And of course there's always a more simple (but still scrappy) sashing from a random, coordinated (matchy) jelly roll.

The lecture/trunk show was followed up with an afternoon class ... How to put YOUR blocks together. It was a fun and busy day and sew much got done.

THEN ... there was a sock knitting class I taught. (knitters AND quilters are my life). I cranked up a whole lot of tubes, headed to Celebration, FL and taught a "Cranky Sock" class.

We spent time with this little darling ... The Capitals Hockey team got knocked out of the playoffs too soon. But we still love hockey!

AND ... we rounded out the week with a public event! We went to a park and socialized with friends and neighbors. We saw smiling faces and ate too much and had the best time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Post Toddler-Time

 hmmm ... not sure about this title. Is an adventurous 2.5 year old still considered a "toddler?" She's fully potty trained and constantly says, "I do it, myself." This is usually followed with, "I did it!"  Toddler/tiny human/best grandie ... I guess the label isn't as important as the joy of spending time together.

She loves "Happy Cake" ... any cake with frosting. When she was little (yes, she still is), birthday cake, Happy Birthday and cupcake all got squished together into what we all now call - HAPPY CAKE!

Unfortunately, I did discover that Amelia was really very afraid of the LOUD airplanes flying overhead. Melbourne hosted an airshow a couple of week ago and the Navy's elite flying team: The Blue Angels were here. Wouldn't you know - they flew (a lot) right over our house. It would have been fun to watch but we needed to "hide under the pillows."

Sew, when I'm not busy being a Grammy, I am still sewing and knitting. I'm working on a new quilt. As usual - it's all parts and pieces found in my sewing room - HSTs (1/2-square triangles) and 1.5" strips. Check out the M&M Sew Charming Facebook Group - more info about this over there.

I finished knitting this cute little baby sweater. Nope ... at the time, there was no baby designated for a gift when I started (or even finished) but just this week, we found out our cousins in Denmark are expecting! How fortunate is THAT?!

I bought a new book because I like looking at pretty things. Searsport Rug Hooking is an awesome shop - well, they have an awesome on-line presence so I'm sure their shop is too.

A little sewing, a little knitting, a little reading, but mostly - having a blast being a GRAMMY!


Thursday, May 13, 2021

More Starts and a DONE


The Cutest Grandie evah, is spending a few days with us. There will be time for a bit of creating but mostly I'll be watching Elmo, swimming in the pool and maybe some Play Doh. Amelia does love her Gramps.

I started a new quilt project and of course it going to be with leftover bits. I have a lot of red/neutral HSTs. They are sorted (on paper plates - great organizer tip) and ready to square-up. Not exactly sure where this is headed. Time will tell.


And, because I finished a knitting project, I had to start another. Yes, I do have 2 baby sweaters that each need 1 more sleeve but ... this yarn is so pretty and it just could not wait. The yarn is all from Olive & Two Ewe. It was part of their Dye Live Plus Club. All this yarn was naturally dyed with cabbage and avocado pits and dried flowers. While I do love this whole combo, acid dyed yarn is much brighter and I believe much easier to work. 

This is my finished knitting project ... Andrea Mowry's Comfort Fade Cardi. It's the 2nd time I've made this pattern. Again - the sleeves are a bit long but have lovely cuffs that turn up nicely. It is WAY to hot here now to wear it but it's ready to go for next year's 2 months of cold weather. Hopefully, there will be some travel happening this year so I might actually get it wear it in 2021.

Off to get busy on my chores. Amelia is at school for a bit and this Grammy has things to do.