Saturday, October 28, 2017

Scrappy Trip Quilt Gifted and Lady Liberty

The orange peel quilting is finished and the binding is on so this little quilt was washed, dried, and delivered to the Boy Who Likes Green.

Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt in greens with red diagonals
Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt

Three pieces of green fabric were used on the back.

Three green fabrics make the back of this toddler quilt
Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt back
Gayle gifted me the green for the binding. She was tired of it; there was just enough for this small quilt.

Binding is a medium green print on this Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt
Detail of binding on Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt

Here's a closeup of the quilting. Not bad.

Orange peel curved free motion quilting on Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt
Detail of Orange peel quilting

Quilt Details
Size: 43"" x 43"
Design: Scrappy Trip Around the World
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: grey Aurifil cotton 50/2 thread
Quilting: Orange peel with walking foot

Personally, Mountain Mist is one of my favorites but the batt does shrink with the first wash. {About two-inches in this case but it's been as much as four inches.} I like the crinkled effect on the quilting, the very light weight, and prefer these 100% cotton batts.

Previous posts:
The other Scrappy Trip was mailed, too, but in the rush to get to the post office I forgot to take a photo. Here's the top. These quilts were made sequentially so have similar fabrics although this second one has more pinks. The back is pink, too.

Green Scrappy Trip quilt with pinks and reds on the main diagonal
The second Scrappy Trip has pinks and reds on the main diagonal

Until the previous post went live I didn't realize it was all about "man" quilts - either for men or made by men. War and Pieced is at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC until January 7. It moves to the International Study Center at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska on May 25 and runs till September 16, 2018. Hopefully you will be able to see it at one of these museums.

Lady Liberty
I was finally able to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Tickets to these sites sell out well in advance; there was only one left when we found out we were going to NYC. I took it and planned everything else around it. The overcast day made great photos.

Statue of Liberty lit by low angle sun shining through clouds
The Statue of Liberty

Sculpted by Frederic Bartholdi, the statue is a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. I knew the pedestal was built by the people of the US but didn't know the statue languished in storage for eight years until Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian immigrant, created a unique fundraising concept. Every person who donated at least a penny had their name published on the front page of his paper. He raised $100,000 in five months from 125,000 Americans and new arrivals. An immigrant with a newspaper.

"Immigrants. We get the job done."

I also didn't know Gustav Eiffel built the infrastructure of the statue. A wrought iron central pylon with a framework for cross-braced iron angle bar looks a bit like the Eiffel Tower. Flat iron bars connect the skin support system to the frame and act like springs allowing the skin to adjust to temperature and wind changes. Spectacular.

Statue of Liberty cutaway model shows interior framework designed by Gustav Eiffel
Model cutaway of the Statue of Liberty showing the framework

The pedestal sits on Fort Wood, an eleven-point star fort built in 1808. The design came from French engineers so, of course, it reminds me of Fort Ticonderoga (which you remember was built by the French.)

Low angle sun highlights the Statue of Liberty on Fort Wood base
The Statue of Liberty
New Yorkers are the kindest people. They helped with my large bag on the subway and stopped to give directions. I so appreciated their friendly help. Thanks, New York!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Phillies Baseball Quilt, Soldier Quilts and AHIQ 26

Perfect timing. The World Series starts tonight between the Houston Astros and LA Dodgers. Neither FO’s Phillies nor my Giants made post-season appearances but his quilt is bound, washed, and gifted. This is the final quilt for the Great Debaters. Remember those adorable friends of my youngest who wrangled over who should have received a graduation quilt?

I alternated left- and right-handed ball players. On my first attempt I turned the templates over but between front and back of fabrics and templates got myself turned around. It was easier to make two template sets: one for lefties and the other for righties.

The gloves were originally drawn with curves but I quickly found that unnecessary. Simpler is better. Sashing color seemed a difficult choice since the team colors were covered by the red shoes and blue caps. Happily this two fabric choice worked wonders. The true whites strengthen the quilt by pushing the value range. The outer border might be a bit wide. I simply cut the fabric into four equal lengths and didn’t want to trim it off in the end. After all, FO is a grown man. He needs the size.

Making the field of different greens added life to the top. Still, this quilt uses far fewer fabrics than most of mine.

What fun to design and sew! But... I've created a bit of a monster: every guy in my family wants one celebrating his team and several people have written asking for the pattern. There aren't many patterns of guys. Mostly we buy camping fabric or plaids and call it a guy quilt. Not that hearts and flowers are only for girls but this one has struck a chord with many people. I'm going to try to write up a pattern formally. After the holidays. Stay tuned. And thanks for the encouragement. :-)

Nine Phillies ballplayers stand on fields of green with gloves in hand, ready to play ball.
Phillies Baseball quilt 

DH thought team patches would be the cherry on the top. He insisted until I agreed he could buy one. He bought four. Plus four more for the Giants quilt he wants. {Someone doesn't want me to forget my promise.} One is the Philly Fanatic, probably the best mascot in all sports. He alone is worth the trip to a Phillies home game. Another celebrates their 2008 World Championship.

FO's name is behind the red-bordered box. Next is his university and graduation year. {Yep, this has been in the works for quite a while but he says it was worth the wait.} My son came up with the third line. Philadelphia is home to the Liberty Bell so the screen flashes, "Ring the Bell!" after home game home runs. The final four lines are a quote by Aaron Rowand.

The white and beige background fabrics include stripes, plaids, spiders, power poles and lines, and boat building plans.

Ring the Bell for Phillies home runs.
Phillies Baseball quilt back, owner's name whited out in photo

Detailed quilting might have showcased each section with a different designs but this quilt will be used heavily and {hopefully} washed frequently. After stitching in the ditch along the sashing, a curving, allover design will be the sturdiest choice.

The Baptist Fans come courtesy of Quilt Diva Julie who generously shared pointers. I couldn't have done it without her help. The only other time I sewed fans they were a disaster - misshapen, missized, mistaken. With Julie's encouragement and advice these worked so well I used them on the border as well as the players. {Why miss another place to practice?}

Phillies Baseball quilt, quilting details from back

Quilt Details
Size: 86" x 92"
Pattern: Original design
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: YLI nylon monofilament with white Gutermann and Presencia 50 wt grey cotton 
Quilting: Walking foot straight line and free motion Baptist Fans

There are quite a few previous posts about this quilt:
  1. An idea to celebrate baseball
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Appliqueing Phillies in cursive
  4. Free-hand piecing letters for the back
  5. Making sentences
  6. Applique numbers
  7. Sewing the back together
  8. Baptist fan quilting

DH had an unexpected meeting in NYC. Guess who tagged along? So many things to see and places to go. First up.

War and Pieced: Quilts from Military Fabrics at the American Folk Art Museum showcases Soldier Quilts created 19th century British soldiers who served in Crimea, India, and South Africa. Calling them quilts is a courtesy classification as these are only one layer and frequently intended as wallhangings or gaming boards.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Soldier quilt with elaborate borders, India c. 1855-1875

British military uniforms were made from milled wool broadcloth which was also felted to produce a raised nap. Since the fabric could be cut without fraying, tailors and soldiers could cut it into complex pieces without seam allowances and hide the overstitching in the nap. Except for the embellishments on the front, they look the same from the front or the back. It's believed the fancy-cut fabrics were ejected from buttonhole punches or created with special die.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Detail of the elaborate border. Fabric may have been ejected from buttonhole punches.

Facings were dyed in regimental colors which included black, white, blue, buff, green, purple, and orange. Although many of the soldier-makers remain unknown, the theater they served in can be identified by the colors used in their quilts. For example, the mid-blues in the quilt above were only used by British regiments in India.

Did you know that different dyes were used for different ranks? The uniforms of common soldiers were dyed with madder and could turn purple or pink over time. NCOs, sergeants, and volunteer corps got "mock scarlet" created from a variety of dyes while true scarlet from cochineal dyes was reserved for officers.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Bright fabrics from military uniform facings

With longer periods of inactivity during Indian service, soldier quilts from that continent were brighter, more complex, and - inspired by that ancient Indian art - often included beading. Several are thought to have been made by orderlies who were frequently Indian tailors.

Quilting was promoted as a healthy antidote to the "canteen culture" of war and to provide employment to wounded soldiers. Who knew quilting keeps alcoholism at bay?

The simpler construction and limited color palette of the quilt below suggest it was made by a convalescing soldier. The four crosses at the bottom may mark graves of fallen comrades.

One of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Soldier's Quilt: Square within a Square; Crimea, India or UK; c. 1850-1880
The final two photos below reminded me of Fort Ticonderoga. The blue design on the left looks like a star fort to me. On the right, the visible white threads are exactly what the soldier-guied used to sew uniforms at the Fort. I noticed all the threads that showed or mended these quilts were white.

Details of two of the soldier quilts from the exhibit War and Pieced at the American Folk Art Museum, NYC.
Two examples of the Soldier Quilt exhibit that reminded me of Fort Ticonderoga

The book Wartime Quilts: Appliqued and Geometric Masterpieces from Military Fabrics accompanies the exhibit and includes many more quilts. I had it shipped home to save luggage space. The Magazine Antiques posted an article last month explaining current understanding of these masterpieces. It has great photos, too.

Fourth Quarter AHIQ Invitation
We've all been busy. At first I thought it was summer vacation, then back-to-school but now realize we are all overcommitted for the year. Hardly anyone has time to comment. Perhaps we are disheartened by world politics which seem to focus on war and rumors of war. Fortunately, this vacation as it helped me realize I need to slow down, breathe, and reevaluate.

We considered another invitation but decided now is not a good time. Check Kaja's post for details. It's just what we all need.

What have you quilted this month? We could use something pretty to look at with details to enlighten.

Enjoy the day, Ann

InLinkz removed because it was hacked.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Quilting Baseball

We're one game away from the World Series so today's the day to start quilting the Phillies! First things first. Some stitch-in-the-ditch along the sashing just to keep areas a bit more enclosed. For about one-millisecond I considered quilting individual areas: the uniform, glove, background, etc. Nope. Too crazy. This is not a wall- or art-quilt. It will get heavy use by someone who will love it but perhaps not take perfect care of it. Let's go for sturdy instead.

QuiltDivaJulie made Zinderella recently with Baptist Fans. Oh, how beautiful. I've tried them before, not very successfully. She kindly sent me some pointers and I gave it another try.

On this first ballplayer I kept forgetting the design and made headbands instead of fans. Oh, well. There are eight more players.

Quilting the first baseball player
The second block worked out much better. Neither the lighting nor my eyesight is perfect so I overshot the eighth-inch gap I imagined before each fan blade. Mine go right up to the fan and travel over to the next spot. Sometimes I miscounted the number of blades in the fan but overall, it looks good. Thanks so much for the advice, Julie!

Phillies ballplayers in their home pinstripe uniforms stand of fields of green, ready to play ball.
Better Baptist Fan quilting on the second baseball player

I chose Presencia grey cotton thread for all the free motion and am very pleased with the thread and the color. Grey blends well with all these colors. Presencia is truly a long-staple Egyptian cotton: strong and low-lint. Over the years I've found that if thread does not explicitly state long-staple Egyptian, it creates more lint than I want.

Last week DH and I visited Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. We deliberately planned the ferry crossing. Interestingly both captain and crew were women. There was a basket of local apples for sale on the honor system so we both enjoyed one. New England apples are a treat to all the senses. Tart, crispy, aromatic. Nothing tops locally grown.

Larabees-Ticonderoga ferry landing

Hotels and taverns formerly existed at the landing but have been burned or destroyed over the years. This building still stands, made from stones taken from Fort Ticonderoga across the lake. It may be a home now but still has the pulley to lift cargo to the top floor.

Larabee's Point Lakehouse

Originally built by the French, Fort Ticonderoga's star-shaped walls are typical defensive structures.  Due to the north-south mountain ranges and lakes, the fort occupies the strategic location between Canada and Boston/NYC. It's at the three-mile portage between Lakes Champlain and George. Unfortunately it could be bombarded from several mountains, a fact which the British used to capture it twice - once during the French and Indian Wars (aka the Seven Years War) and again in 1777.

Fort Ticonderoga appears as a small white line on the left peninsula in this panoramic view from the top of Mount Defiance

Panoramic view of Lake Champlain and Ft. Ticonderoga from Mount Defiance
Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys captured the fort in a surprise attack in May 1775. The cannon were shipped overland to break the siege of Boston forcing a British retreat - an early and major American victory.

While Americans hoped to encourage or coerce Canadians to join the Revolution, they used the fort as a staging point. British also used this passage to transport soldiers and materiel until General Burgoyne, trying to end the war by splitting the American forces, was surrounded at Saratoga when his troops from the south and west didn't arrive. His surrender, later commemorated in the Burgoyne Surrounded quilt pattern, marked the fort's decline as there were no more British troops to ferry south.

In 1820, the property was acquired by William Pell. His great-grandson, Stephen Pell, restored it and founded the non-profit association that runs it today.

Outside view of enlisted barracks at Ft. Ticonderoga

Each year the Fort highlights a different year from history down to the clothing, food, armaments, and occupants. Once past the gates, it became 1758 when the French held off a far superior British attack. The staff cast a four-pound cannon, built the carriage, and set it off daily - in French with an docent adding explanations in English.

Every guide seemed to hold a Master's degree in history or languages. Details flowed. As we walked around the Fort, they expounded on the socio-political realities and ramifications of events here and in France. I spent half an hour with the soldier guide above this barracks (four men to each mattress) while he made a new pair of breeches for a comrade. He used white thread to sew the blue and red boiled wool uniform. No matching thread in this era. The uniforms must have been hot in summer although he said the linen underclothes helped wick away sweat. {Hmm. Not sure that would be enough for me.}

Bunks in the enlisted barracks, Ft. Ticonderoga, NY
The 2018 season opens in May with a two-day reenactment of Ethan Allen's attack. Visitors can watch from Mount Defiance and other strategic points. I'd love to be there, wouldn't you?

The next AHIQ linkup is this Tuesday. Kaja has a clever idea for year's end. Check it out and link up your utility/improv work.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Rabbit Quilted and Bound

This quilt has nothing to do with rabbits. Challenged by Mel Beach, I pulled the made-fabric out of storage. Because "What the $%#* was I thinking?" when I moved it four different times.

Since the fabric is made of one-inch finished strips, the most straightforward quilting seemed to be stitch in the ditch. I used smoke YLI nylon monofilament for the top and white cotton thread in the bobbin.

It's bound with one-inch wide (finished) single fold. Smaller didn't look right. While I wanted to use facing, I'm not sure who will get this quilt. It seems better to leave options open so it can be a wall or toddler quilt.

Marimekko fabric used to bind Strips 'n Curves quilt

The binding is a Marimekko remnant fabric from Crate and Barrel.

Strips 'n Curves quilt in black, white, grey, brown, orange
Black and orange Negative/Positive quilt
All it needs is a name. Any ideas?

Quilt Details
Size: 45" x 45"
Design: Negative/Positive Strips 'n Curves from Louisa Smith
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: YLI nylon monofilament and white Gutermann cotton
Quilting: Stitch in the ditch with walking foot

Previous posts:
  1. Made fabric found in storage
  2. Arranging the blocks
  3. Sewing the top. BTW, this post includes details of switching your blog to HTTPS. Increase internet security for everyone by updating your blog today.

Wind Phone

Recently I heard a podcast about the Wind Phone in Osaka, Japan. A man mourning his cousin installed a booth with an unconnected rotary phone to 'speak' with him. Following the 2012 tsunami others began using it to talk with their own departed loved ones. Grief blankets the world today. The lives of too many people have been cut short. Perhaps we could repurpose some of our old phone booths to bring closure to families.

This American Life, Episode 597: One Last Thing Before I Go. Without knowing how long this link will work, you can currently listen to it here.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Putting the Top Together and Switching to HTTPS on Blogger

Another week, another disaster. This time California wildfires. My brother helped with some in Colorado earlier this year. There are opportunities for each of us to help somewhere. This planet is our only home; everyone is a neighbor.

I moved the blocks to the design wall as I sewed the diagonals. Arranging blocks in front of the oven won't work two days in a row. ;-)

Blocks sewn and transferred to the design wall

Switch to HTTPS

As we use technology we need to keep our hardware and software as secure as possible. Fantastic programmers are constantly finding solutions to weaknesses in the system. They report how to plug those holes. With phones, tablets, and computers it's frequently added to the system updates but we still have to push the button. Not to update is like refusing to wear your seatbelt.

We are all aware of the recent Equifax hack that stole millions of records. Current reports suggest hackers got in because Equifax failed to update a security patch for over a month. Through the years bloggers have been hacked; their links suddenly point to porn sites or their entire site sends you to a scam page instead. Fortunately there's an easy fix if you use Blogger. Simply switch to HTTPS, that's Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

The "secure" is the important part because data can't be altered during transfer (your links won't be hacked) and users are sure they are communicating with your website (no man-in-the-middle attacks where a hacker redirects your entire site.

In Blogger, go to Settings then Basic. Click on "Yes" under HTTPS to HTTPS Redirect.

Hooray. You're safer already but you're not done. You'll probably see a "mixed message" note. This is a tedious but important repair. Get some coffee and expect to spend some time. How much time? That depends on how many links need fixing. Google has a page explaining how to repair mixed content for Blogger on Chrome. (This is what I use; I'm not a programmer.)

The first part reads:

Here's where you find JavaScript Console:

Here's what a mixed content message looks like. It's color coded. No, I don't know what all the other stuff means.

You must find that code in on your site and fix it. {Google has more information on discerning whether it's coming from a single page or is on multiple pages. Read the link above for that information.} If it's someone else's gadget, send them an email asking them to repair it. I could repair some; others need someone else to fix. I've given them a deadline.

Once you finish your old posts and pages, it's easier to avoid these errors in future. Here's how.

Yes, that code looks like the foreign language it is. But we can learn to understand the parts we need to repair. It's like learning to use SpellCheck. Good luck and "let's be careful out there."

EDIT: I prefer to create and edit my posts in Chrome. It and Blogger are both Google products so I expect fewer interface issues. You can check JavaScript in Safari. It's in the Develop menu.

If you can't find Develop, turn it on by going to Preferences...

and then clicking the Advanced tab.

JavaScript appears at the bottom of the screen. The correction process should be the same as with Chrome but I'm not certain of the details.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Arranging the Rabbit

I cut template pieces until there was no more fabric. I'm not making any more either since this was leftover from a previous, more colorful quilt. The remaining made-fabric was mainly black, grey/white, brown, and orange. There’s another section of yellow and green that may make a third quilt. That’s enough for now. The point is to use it up and move on, not create more. Although the templates lend themselves to some esoteric arrangements,  I'm going to lay them out as circles. First step is to simply set them all out. Here's version 1.

Version 1 of orange & black Strips 'n Curves

The orange rows are too heavy on bottom. So version 2 moves the orange up the right side a bit.

Version 2 of orange & black Strips 'n Curves

Still needs work. Version 3.

Version 3 of orange & black Strips 'n Curves

And version 4.

Version 4 of orange & black Strips 'n Curves
The orange is going too far up the right side but I like the top right ring rotation. Lots to think about.

One more issue. Somehow... this is laid out in front of the oven. We're going out to dinner tonight! I must remember this trick for the future. Feel free to use it yourself. ;-)

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pulling a Rabbit Out of my Hat

Of course, it's not a rabbit. It's {yet another} forgotten leftover. And it's {sort of} understandable.

Once upon a time... I took a Strips 'n Curves workshop with Louisa Smith. It was only one day and either I missed those directions or she didn't exactly give us yardage amounts but I took way too much fabric. Way, way, way too much.

Louisa is and upbeat, organized teacher who loves color and curved pieces. In this workshop we cut 1.5" strips and sewed them into sheets of fabric shading from one color to the next. Throughout the day, all I did was sew those strips. Unlike the other, smarter participants, I never got around to cutting any blocks during the class. But I listened well. Within a couple of months I actually finished and gifted the first quilt - a queen-size safari quilt for my dear sister. There was enough leftover made-fabric for another one or two lap quilts. {Did I mention I cut way too much fabric?}

Mel Beach recently challenged to our guild. "Pull out one or more fabrics that cause you to wonder: What the $%#* was I thinking when I purchased this fabric?" I've moved this made-fabric four times. Not to different rooms; different cities. Since Louisa is coming to speak and teach Double Visions Quilts, it seemed this should be finished. Now. Two birds with one stone.

Working so quickly, I forgot to take photos. The fabric is simply shaded strips that are then cut with templates. It's not hard but requires accuracy in sewing the strips and cutting the pieces since you need to line the seam lines up for best results. On the plus side, that many seams means you can usually nudge any that are out of alignment.

At least the fabric was already made so I started by cutting with templates until I ran out of strips.

Strips 'n Curves Negative/Positive units ready to sew together
This quilt is most effective when the seam lines match. While not difficult it takes time to pin them all. First you pin along the curves, then the diagonal of the block.

Matching seam lines by inning curves and diagonals 

I can't remember how long it took to make the strip fabric but it took two afternoons to cut the pieces and three more to sew them into blocks. Next steps will be to pin the blocks into rows, and finally the rows into the top.

We watched the Giants final homestand last weekend. They won't be in the postseason (they're in the cellar) but it's always a good day for baseball. I've particularly enjoyed getting to know some quilters and their favorite teams this year: Patty's Indians (great winning streak) and Julie's Red Sox (also my grandson's team.) Both teams are in the playoffs. October baseball is special. I'll be watching.

Discovering shared interests with someone creates more connections and helps us see others as complete people. Our world needs those bridges. Getting to know new people is a great benefit of blogging.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Butterfly Block Progress: Kaleidoscope of Butterflies 21

Butterflies still flitter around our area but they have been difficult to photograph. A friend has mounds of lavender in her yard attracting loads of bees. If you listen quietly they make the most relaxing hum.

I'm continuing my own butterfly blocks. Just a few each month. Making a few each month is also relaxing. I've no clear idea about a final quilt so I'm enjoying taking my time over these. Here's what I have so far.

Simple butterfly quilt blocks
September Butterflies
There was enough of the light blue in the top right to center wings for one butterfly. It looks like eyes, doesn't it? I posted the pattern here last month if you'd like to join me.

Take a look at Cathy's Kaleidoscope of Butterflies quilt made using a free online pattern, Ghost Moth. Lovely. Barbara Mahan shared a glorious quilt, West Pine Elfin Butterfly, on her guild's website. The site is www(dot)diablovalleyquilters(dot)org/member-quilts(dot)html. So many ways to celebrate butterflies.

Good Night Lights

Have you seen the story about Good Night Lights by the Providence Journals? That's providencejournal(dot)com/news/20161223/goodnight-lights-magical-spectacle-for-hasbro-patients. People in Providence, RI, blink their lights at bedtime to support and encourage sick children. Started by the hospital's volunteer cartoonist, ordinary people, police, and firemen now line up in sight of the hospital to shine their lights. And the children blink their own flashlights back.

Enjoy the day, Ann

InLinkz removed because it was hacked.