Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back From Vacation

We are back from our family vacation in Cape Cod. We had a wonderful, relaxing time! My mom rented a house in Chatham and we all gathered there - my mom, my sister and her family, and me and my family. Chatham is a wonderul, old-fashioned town right at the "elbow" of the Cape, with its own harbor, light house, and beach, and easy accessibility to other parts of the Cape. If you go, be sure to visit Marion's Pies! We had raspberry and a mixed berry - both wonderful, and we had the seafood casserole and crab cakes. The crab cakes were some of the best I've ever had. We also went to Cooke's in Orleans for the lobster rolls and to the Chatham Bars Inn for a celebratory family dinner.

We had a couple of rainy days so I took off one morning for the local quilt shops. Tumbleweed Quilts is in West Barnstable, at the junction of Route 6A and Route 132. They have a huge selection of fabric, including the biggest selection of Kaffe Fassett prints I have ever seen. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. I also went to Heartbeat Quilts in Hyannis. This store is a little hard to find, hidden behind the offices of Wachovia Securities, but well worth it because they also have a big selection, including lots of patterns and books plus lots of sample quilts on display. It is also a good place for "beachy" print fabrics. I had to restrain myself and not get carried away with purchases. I bought a few more blues and golds for my current project and some background for an applique project I want to start later this summer.

I took along quite a pile of books, just in case. I finished Prayers for Sale and People of the Book (both very good) and started Bel Canto. I think the others will return to MountToBeRead for a future trip.

Now it's back to the regularly scheduled life.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Some Work On A New Project

You might recall mention here of my plan to make my daughter a quilt in the colors of the high school she will attend beginning in the fall. Well, last night was the 8th grade promotion from middle school ceremony (very well done, 375 kids on their best behavior, marching in and out in a dignified manner and sitting attentively during the speeches - in short, better behaved than many parents sitting in the bleachers), so time to get started.

I originally planned to use the French Kiss pattern from Fig Tree but I want to use a school t-shirt for the center block and it turned out that would not work with the diamond shape of French Kiss. So I hatched another plan, did much of the cutting, and just began the piecing. There will be some pieced blocks and sashing surrounding a larger block made from a school t-shirt. The quilt will unveil here over the next few weeks.

I must get this finished, quited, and bound by Sept. 5.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Resource for Quilters

Have you discovered QuiltQua.com? Connie Colten founded the site to be a resource for quilters. It has the usual things we've come to expect - a directory to upcoming quilt shows, a directory of guilds, links to articles - but one resource that is new to me and I think performs a great service to the quilting community. It is Missing Fabrics.

It happens to even the best quilt planners. You are nearing completion of a project, perhaps have cut most of your pieces, and horrors! You don't have quite enough fabric! The success of your project depends of finding another quarter yard of a print you bought at your local quilt shop over two years ago. Naturally, the LQS is sold out, as is every other shop you've tried within a 50 mile radius of home, and all those you know of online. What to do?

You can hastily call all your quilting buddies but if that doesn't work try Missing Fabrics. Follow the directions to list your request, including as much information as possible (a photo helps). The webmaster lists your need on the Missing Fabric pages. Then if another site user has it, they email you via the site (your email address is not shown to be grabbed by the spammers) to arrange the sale. When I was on the site last night, one quilter was in need of fabric from the Portobello Market line by 3 Sisters for Moda and another wanted the Map of Paris fabric from the Paris Flea Market line. Missing Fabrics could be a good way to unload some stash you don't expect to use, while helping a fellow quilter out.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Inspiration Found at NJ Quilt Convention

Yesterday, I went to the annual show of the State Quilt Guild of NJ at the Expo Center in Edison. It is a smaller show but I always pick up a few bits of inspiration and this year was no exception.

The following two quilts were part of a small exhibit called Vintage Revisited. The quilts were made as part of a challenge; they had to be 24" by 24" and include all or part of a vintage block.
This one is by Mary Kerr. I like this as a method to preserve and showcase the baby jacket, lace, and vintage notions.

This one is by Jeannie Roulet Minchak. It is so cheerful. I think the flowers in the center are paper-pieced.

This variation on the 4-patch stacked posie is by JoAnn Lepore. It won a 2nd place ribbon! Congratulations! The 4-patch stacked posie quilts I've seen before were done with sashing in straight sets. I like this alternate setting.

Paula Barnes of Bonnie Blue Quilts was vending at the show with an absolutely wonderful booth, a real stand-out at the show. Bonnie Blue Quilts specializes in fabric and quilt patterns of the Civil War era. The walls were hung with their quilts witha few more displayed on tables and on a small bed, and they had fabric, kits, and patterns for sale. The patterns are impressive enough but pale in comparison to seeing the quilts all made up. They will be vending at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza in September, which I am planning to attend.

So - the loot! Well, I did not buy much. I was trying to restrain myself because I have so many projects in the WIP stage. I did buy a little bundle of FQs from Bonnie Blue Quilts. And I could not resist this book, Home Sweet Home by Barb Adams and Alma Allen, seen at the book vendor's booth:

It has nine appliqued house blocks plus directions for putting them together in a sampler style quilt.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Salvaged Selvages Inspiration Notebook

It has been work, work, and more work here at Quilting on Main Street this week, and none of it quilting related! But I did manage to whip up this little notebook cover last Sunday. I used leftover Fig Tree fabrics I had from making Mon Petit Chou and decided to make the selvage edges part of the design. The pad inside is a basic graph paper school notebook from Staples. I will use this for sketching ideas and sticking in pictures I cut from magazines, things I can refer back to when I need ideas for a project.

If you would like to make your own notebook cover, the blog Bloom has a good tutorial. I didn't make mine quite the same way; for one thing, I did not use interfacing because the Staples notebook seemed stiff enough. I did take pictures of the process as I made it so maybe I'll put a tutorial together.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm Ready For The Beach

I'm ready for a day at the beach, with my new beach tote. I got the idea about a year ago, from a photo I saw in Country Living magazine. I cut out the picture and saved it for future use (I do this a lot, though I don't always follow through).

I bought the basket from Pottery Barn; they call it the Seagrass Tote Bag and it is $39. It is roomy. In order to make the lining, I designed a pattern using newspaper then used the pattern to cut out the fabric. I am pleased with the way it came out. While the lining is not quite a perfect fit, it is pretty good considering the irrregular shape of the basket. I added a couple of pockets to the lining to hold smaller things like keys and my reading glasses. The fabric is from a Robyn Pandolph line called Hannah Bella. It has been in my stash for five or six years and I am happy to have finally found a good use for it. The buttons are vintage Czech glass, like milk glass.

I'll be putting this basket tote to work on our vacation to Cape Cod, coming up late this month. Speaking of Cape Cod, can anyone recommend a good restaurant in the Chatham area (fine dining, seafood shack or sandwich shop - we're looking for all types)? And, more importantly, are there any must-see quilt shops in the area? Our last trip to the Cape was eight years ago. I recall going to two quilt shops, one in/near Hyannis and another one close to the northerly main road. I hope they are still in business!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Find - Pret A Manger

I came across Pret A Manger the day I went to NYC to see the Paula Nadelstern exhibit. It is inexpensive, not-quite-fast food. They sell sandwiches along with coffee, tea, juices, water, plus chips and baked goods for dessert. The sandwiches are pre-made (they refer to them as “just made,” meaning minutes ago) and packaged in attractive triangular boxes then shelved in refrigerated cases, as shown in the photo. I like that they sell half sandwiches in addition to whole; often, half a sandwich is enough for my middle-aged metabolism. The combinations are creative without being crazy and I found the quality good and fresh. I really enjoyed my Cubano with a cup of coffee. There are a few tables and chairs inside to sit at, kind of like Starbucks, and they appear to do a big take-out business.

I wish they had a store near my home. But I will re-visit on my next trip to NYC.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

15 Books in 15 Minutes

There has been a tag going around where people are challenged to take just 15 minutes to list the 15 books they've read that have been most impactful. I started reading before I started quilting and I love it just as much AND our house resembles a library 'cause I am married to a high school English teacher (aka bookaholic). So here are the the 15 books I've read that have really stuck with with me:

  1. Father Melancholy's Daughter - Gail Godwin
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  3. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  4. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  5. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
  6. Sylvester - Georgette Heyer
  7. Frederica - Georgette Heyer
  8. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
  9. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  10. Emma - Jane Austen
  11. Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
  12. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
  13. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
  14. The Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  15. The Tree of Hands - Ruth Rendell

A funny thing - I could easily get to 14; it was the 15th that took thinking. And looking at this list, there are several that I would like Miss Main Street to read. Little Women and The Little Princess were childhood books that I read over and over. War and Peace and East of Eden were high school assignments that really struck a chord with me (unlike most high school assignments), but I did not discover Jane Austen until I was an adult. And if you like Jane Austen, please try Georgette Heyer. Year of Wonders is my most recent book on this list; I read it about two years ago.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ta Da! A Finished Quilt!

Mon Petit Chou - quilted, bound, and labeled! I got it back from my long-arm quilter, Karen, last week and finished binding it on Saturday. This close-up shows the quilting.

I wanted it somewhat densely quilted, thinking that would help soften the vertical lines formed by the seams of the half-hexagons and it does help when viewed from a distance, though the seams are very obvious in this close-up shot.

The fabrics are the Plum & Fig line from Moda, designed by Fig Tree & Co. I started with a jelly roll then added yardage for the borders, backing, and binding. (I used the large floral print on cream for backing and the polka dots on green for binding.) There was something about this grouping of fabrics that attracted me when I saw them. The colors are unusual and don't go with anything in my house but it makes a good snuggle quilt on the khaki/beige family room couch.