Sunday, March 27, 2011

   After having a couple days where the temperature reached 70 degrees, the return of the cold and damp weather seemed especially cruel. I tend to take weather personally and I've felt picked-on all this week. I can take the cold temperature (which means below 70d.) as long as the sun is shining. I need sunshine. Sunshine makes me happy. : ) If there are more than 2 or 3 days of cloudy, I'm in trouble! Cloudy makes me sad. : ( I can tolerate long as it snows on Christmas Eve and melts on the 26th. It's ok to snow anywhere anytime outside of SE Iowa, like at sky resorts for instance. I don't want to take away their fun. Let the snow fall there as long as I'm not there when it does. I do better in warm weather. I can stand the heat, as long as I'm working in my flower garden and don't care how sweaty and dirty I get. It's just all the other times when I'm dressed up or want to look presentable that I don't like hot weather. My husband says I have a comfort zone of 75d. to 80d. That is way off! I can tolerate 70d. to 85d. easily! I'm not hard to please, really. I love thunderstorms and lightning for instance. I just don't want too much rain. I pray the farmers get all the rain they want, but in town, we really only need enough to keep the grass green.  Unfortunately, I don't always get the weather I want...sunny, not too hot, not too cold, no rain or snow except as I mentioned before when necessary. I've learned to deal with it, like it or not. My remedy for inclement weather is to stay indoors and quilt with the heat cranked up or the AC on, whichever is required at the time. Of course that's my remedy for pretty much everything unpleasant and it always makes me feel better. See, I'm not hard to please, as long as I'm comfortable. :)
    I quilted a lot this week. I finished the mystery quilt we're all making for the Breakfast Club at Inspirations. It's quilted and bound.
   I made the smallest version, since I really need to be working on my trunk show quilts instead. Mine is made from Civil War fabrics in reds and browns. There were some beautiful blocks made by other ladies in different color choices at show 'n' tell last Saturday. Can't wait to see all of them finished.

   I backed mine with a Civil War toile by Jodi Barrows for Square Textiles. I bought it a long time ago and am glad I found a way to use it at last.

   I finished the top, "Cozy Cottages" this week too. I can't show a picture of it because my niece who's receiving it reads my blog! I'll post a picture when it's quilted and at it's new home in sunny California. As usual, I got carried away and made too many blocks so I put them to use. I made a baby quilt with them. By the time it's quilted someone will surely need a baby quilt. It will have to be a girl though. The pastels and rose covered prints would make any Daddy shy from wrapping a son in this quilt.

   Here's one last picture. I can't help but shop after Breakfast Club. I was delighted to see that Nancy had the full line of Judy Rothermel's Bancroft Collection. Online pictures of these fabrics don't do them justice. They are gorgeous. Naturally, I had to purchase the fat quarter bundle. I can fondle them while I decide on which ones I have to buy yardage of.

   As the last rays of glorious sunshine are falling outside my sewing room windows, I'll say goodbye for now. I hope your week is full of quilting and good weather!

Keep stitching, Becky

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Madness

   This has been a week of quilting, basketball, and little sleep. Our Mt. Pleasant Panthers boy's basketball team were in the state tournament. They played Wednesday at noon (no school) and won in a very close game. I drove to Des Moines with 2 friends from school (2 1/2 hours each way) to cheer them on. The next game for us was Thursday night at 8:30 PM. My husband drove a friend and I there for that one. Our boys lost that game by one point in overtime, a heartbreaker that knocked them out of championship play. We got home at 1 AM. We were blessed with fog in the morning and school was delayed 2 hours!  Most of the staff were sleep deprived and glad it was Friday. Luckily, the students were just as tired and were easy to control. Today my husband and I rode a bus to the consolation game. The HyVee food store in Mt. Pleasant sponsored 2 buses full of fans to see our team play for 3rd place. Way to go HyVee! The Panthers won 56 to 42! Most of the people on our bus dozed on the way home.
   Even with work and March Madness basketball competing for my time, I still made time for quilting. I finished quilting Reap the Whirlwind last weekend. I made  the binding on Monday night and sewed it on Tuesday and Thursday night. Reap the Whirlwind is #009 in my Orphans of War Civil War reproduction line of patterns. The quilt pictured on the front cover of the pattern was machine-quilted by Ellen Bloomberg of Ellen's Quilting Corner, West Burlington, IA. This allowed me to get the pattern on the market sooner. I like to hand-quilt  my own quilt of each pattern  to use in my display when I give my presentations. I'm working on another set in smaller dimensions to use for a trunk show in the future. These would be easier to pack and ship, not to mention less expensive to ship.

    Reap the Whirlwind #009; see all my patterns on: or at quilt shops across the country. If they don't carry them, please ask them too!

                                                              A closer look at the quilting.

This pattern also includes a bonus paper-pieced version for a mini sized quilt 24" square. It's a great way to use up your small scraps.

    I had new publicity photographs taken this past week for my new brochures. The weather and all the illnesses going around town delayed the photo shoot, but the photographer, Miranda Marlow, and I were finally able to schedule a time to meet. The director of the Harlan/Lincoln House at Iowa Wesleyan College here in Mt. Pleasant was gracious enough to let us use their historic building for the setting of my photos. The home belonged to Robert Todd Lincoln, eldest son of our 16th president, and his wife, Mary (Harlan), a native of Mt. Pleasant. It is available for tours and is of interest to Civil War enthusiasts and  fans of Abraham Lincoln as well. The house was a perfect backdrop for my quilts and costume I wear when I give  my presentations. I'm excited to be presenting as far away as Salem, Massachusetts and Windham, Maine this summer. Sloan's Printing did a good job on my old brochures, but they didn't have pictures and were a single page. My new ones will be bigger, better and give more information on my presentations, trunk show, and workshops available.

I'm pictured here with a quilt from my collection that was made by a Union soldier who was injured at the Battle of Stones River, Dec.31, 1862.

               Here I am with a couple of my reproduction quilts in the parlor at the Harlan/Lincoln House. Don't I look like I belong in that house?...I wish!

Keep stitching!

Friday, March 4, 2011

An Accidental Quilt

    I really am behind in posting. My only excuse is, I've been quilting. After my episode with pink eye and blurred vision, I've been like a woman on a mission...a mission to finish! Last night I finished a quilt top I started a couple weeks ago, by accident. I had no intention of starting another quilt. I thought I was done with the crazy block mania, but this one snuck up on me. I was cleaning up the "debris" left over from "Cozy Cottages", the Crazy quilt for my niece in California. I had started sewing the blocks into rows, even. I made the mistake of looking through my collection of toile fabrics during a break from sewing. I came across a one yard piece of toile with green scenes on a pale blue background. I didn't remember this one and so I fondled it for a while. Zap! Inspiration struck and I started pulling blue and green repro fabrics from the shelves to see how they looked with the toile. I envisioned alternating blocks of toile with crazy-pieced blocks in between...maybe a crib or lap quilt. Hmmm, maybe I'll just fussy cut the toile squares now for use later. Those looked so appealing, I thought, hmmm, maybe I'll just make 3 or 4 crazy blocks of the blues and greens to see how they look with the toile blocks. I made those and laid them out. Wow! I loved the look, so I cut and sewed a few more, then sewed it all together. Now, I was wishing I had bought 3 yards of that toile. What had I been thinking only buying one measly yard! I looked at the scraps left from fussy cutting. Maybe I could stretch this into a bigger quilt somehow. Aha! A medallion setting with the 60" square top I had made so far surrounded by a border...cut and sewed not one, but 2 borders. Ok, now it needed something more. Hmmm, what if I added a wide border of a complimentary blue toile (another one yard only piece!) with pieced corner blocks then a double row of crazy-pieced blocks around that? I've been a woman possessed for 2 weeks. I'd work on that top after work and until my husband came home at night. Then, I'd quilt on "Reap the Whirlwind" on my quilt frame in the family room while we watched TV together. So, now I have another top finished and will put the last quilting stitches on "R the W"  tonight. My Mother will celebrate her 88th birthday on April 1st and the toile medallion will be perfect for her bedroom. Shhh! It's a surprise birthday gift.
   Do you ever get possessed like that? Sometimes you just need to go with it when inspiration hits. It may not be convenient to take on a new project, but a great quilt may come from it. I have one piece of advice for you...if you love a fabric don't buy only one yard. You will regret it!

   A hundred and fifty years ago this week the territories of Nevada and Dakota were formed. Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as our 16th president on March 4th. On March 7th, Missouri was leaning towards remaining in the Union. Commissioners from the Confederate States of America tried to arrange a meeting with the Secretary of State, William Seward, but Lincoln told Steward not to agree to the meeting. We were edging ever closer to war.

   These photographs are of unidentified children, but were all taken in the state of New York in the 1860's.

This boy of six or seven is dressed in Zuove attire. Zuove soldiers fought in the Civil War and wore distinctive uniforms similar to what this boy is wearing.

These little brothers are playing at being soldiers. They have little uniforms and their own swords. I wish this photo had scanned more clearly. Was their Daddy off fighting the war when this photo was taken?

During the 1800's, boys wore dresses until they were 2 or more years of age. They usually wore short pants  once they were walking, talking, and toilet-trained. I wonder why he was barefoot.

Thanks for stopping by and keep stitching!