Monthly Archives: January 2013

Block Twenty-Two: Jack’s Delight

Jack's Delight Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's ChoiceNo appliqué or curved piecing this week.  Back to basics with Saturday’s block, with the addition of half-square triangles just to keep things pointedly interesting.  Not nearly as many HSTs as the block called Old Maid’s Ramble from a couple of weeks ago, but there are a fair amount all the same.

Thinking about buzzwords and jargon this morning – the shorthand form of communication between two people who share the same field of interest.

HST, FQ, BOW, UFO, QAL, ripping or frogging… and there are many more.  A quilter can be just as guilty of using abbreviations and buzzwords as a rocket scientist.  Who doesn’t enjoy being able to get a point across quickly with the added attraction of cloaking the subject in mystery?

Still working my way through the Easy Street quilt.  I’ve finally begun joining blocks, but sadly, there won’t be a sneak peek this weekend.  Have I mentioned that at times I can be incredibly optimistic – a regular Pollyanna?  No, really.  It’s true.  I’m at the halfway point, so hang with me.  The wait won’t be very much longer.

There’s a fair breeze blowing this morning and the sun has decided to shine.  I may just whistle up the dogs and go clear tumbleweeds off the fence line.  (Hmm… perhaps I should have written those last two sentences as a couplet.)  Anyway, back on-topic.  We learned our lesson the first winter in Oklahoma, tumbleweeds will push a fence over if you let them pile up.  The breeze will carry them someplace else, although there’s a high probability that they’ll be back again once the winds shift.  At least the fences will be out of danger and our property will be a little more respectable looking for a while.

So what kind of odd jobs do you have piling up that you’d just as soon avoid, but can’t because we’re all supposed to be responsible adults?

Block Twenty-One: Parasol

A guilty pleasure this business of blogging.  All of the things that I could and should be doing – oh well, this is so much more pleasant.  Today is a bank holiday, and in my case, that translates into One Free Play Day.

I could be doing some housework: dusting, vacuuming (meh).  The sun is shining brightly, so I suppose I could even wash a window or two.  Somehow that doesn’t quite fit the definition of a play day either.

I could do a little quilting… but alas, I’m out of thread.  I live in the wilds of southwest Oklahoma, so this is an event of major proportions, nearly epic.  Obtaining an item as simple as a spool of quilting thread may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is.  The nearest spool of thread is 38 miles away (61.155 km for my friends who use the metric system).

Lucky for me I had just enough thread to complete the latest block in the Grandmother’s Choice project.  The block is called Parasol, and it refers to the way that the suffragists turned a completely feminine fashion accessory into a public relations vehicle.

Chrome Yellow And Ivory Accented With Black.

In the early part of the Twentieth Century, parasols or sunshades were still an item very much in use.  The suffragists took advantage of the opportunity to put slogans, invites to suffrage teas, and other announcements on their parasols.  How could you not notice these mobile billboards bobbing down a street or gliding along in an open carriage or car?

Barbara’s block is a very pretty little block, and enough of a challenge to keep me entertained.  I look forward to using this pattern in my second quilt with the Liberty of London fabrics.  The Liberty fabrics are so feminine, and they will be perfect for a dainty parasol.

Barbara Brackman’s Parasol Block

But this week I needed a little more of a challenge, so I started playing ‘what if’ and nearly ended up with more of a challenge than I could handle.

I know that you’ve read how much I abhor handwork, I’ve said it over and over and over.  But yesterday I was completely revved up over an idea that had occurred to me – an idea to use the photo of the suffrage parasol for my block, and a deftly wielded blowtorch couldn’t have kept me from doing this block the way I envisioned it.

I used just a smidgeon of artistic license in converting the photo to a workable block, and now my quilt makes so much more sense.  I think that I’d like to add a bit of Seminole patchwork – one of my favorite piecing techniques – to the outside of this block.  Soon enough, I’ll have a medallion block ready to set into the center of the quilt.

Parasol Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's Choice

Techniques used: Curved paper piecing, hand applique, hand lettering and one french knot.

Block Nineteen & Twenty: Old Maid’s Ramble and Memory Wreath

Oh, the holidays may be over, but here it is mid-January and every time I turn around, it’s somebody’s birthday.  The festivities don’t end on New Year’s Day around my house, but I still manage to squeeze in time to piece.  I’d lose my ever-lovin’ mind if I didn’t block out some time for quilt blocks.

Old Maid's Ramble Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's ChoiceFirst one off the desktop for show-and-tell is Old Maid’s Ramble.  So many possibilities when playing with fabric placement and so much fun to piece.  I am not, however, fond of trying to press the many layers of fabric in a block this intricate.  Thick seams – phooey!

I’d also like to add that I was given a tripod for Christmas, a huge improvement over the stack of books and cigar boxes of varying, but extremely important widths that I used previously as a camera stand.  I think Santa was afraid to borrow a book out of the permanent stack for fear that I’d never be able to get my old ‘tripod’ exactly right again.

I used the new tripod for the very first time when I shot this block.  The initial thing that I learned (after the fact), is that it really helps to point the camera at the subject.  Funny how that works.  Shooting at less than spot-on straight will make thick seams appear even thicker than in the real world, and will make seams look offset – double phooey!  Can’t complain too much, I’m having a tremendous amount of fun playing with my new toy.

Memory Wreath Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's ChoiceSecond offering today is Memory Wreath – large pieces, lots of room for fussy cutting, and few opportunities to screw up the shot when tripod time rolled around.

I have to make an admission here – I’ve been taking a break from the Grandmother’s Choice project with a mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter called Easy Street.  I’ll also admit that about halfway through the project, my interest was cooling rapidly.  I was not in love with what I was seeing on my sewing table.

I’ve begun to assemble the blocks and I’m very excited by what I’m seeing on the design board.  This is definitely going to be a flash quilt.  The quilt is made up of two blocks, A & B.  Block A consists of seventy-seven pieces, Block B, only sixty-nine pieces.  Seriously flash.

Hopefully in the next few days – dang, that was my optimistic other personality speaking there – let’s say maybe next week, I’ll have the top complete and will be able to give you a pre-quilting sneak peek.  Actually, I can’t wait to see it myself.