New Orleans House Project

Saturday, March 28, 2020

TGFT! (Thank Goodness for Fabric Therapy)

Good morning and welcome to Week Three of "Sewcial Distancing" and Fabric Therapy.  For all the times I may have felt guilty about my pile of UFOs, or the size of my fabric stash - right now I'm grateful to have both.

Oh, and surprisingly grateful for social media, too.  Instagram has been a soothing escape from all the pandemic news/noise.  I have been trying to post there more frequently, mostly to let friends and family know I'm still doing OK (a.helman on Instagram).  My family also uses GroupMe, a group text messaging app, to stay in touch and check up on each other.  The governor of Florida has decreed travelers from Louisiana must be quarantined for at least two weeks, so I couldn't visit my family even if I needed to.

Do your UFOs speak to you?

This batch of swap blocks started calling my name early this week.  I came across the blocks as I was digging through the UFO bin, looking for a different project.  That night, as I was falling asleep, the blocks started making very insistent noises about getting assembled into a flimsy.  

What could I do?  Out came the blocks and soon they were arranged on the design wall and ready for assembly.  This might be one my oldest UFOs, as the blocks date back to 1998-1999.  The block exchange was between the members of the Treadle On mail list - Treadle On being a group for folks who collect and use vintage and antique (non-electric) sewing machines.  

The blocks actually cover two swaps; the first used reproduction-style fabrics, the second used novelty fabrics relating to the block maker's geographic location or other personal interests.  Not only is it a fun catalog of fabric prints from that time, but each block is also inscribed with the maker's name, location, and type of sewing machine.  The blocks are from all over the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe.  The oldest sewing machine dates to the mid-1880s!

I also have an appliqué block I plan to use as the quilt label.  This was my prototype block for a Sunbonnet Sue quilt put together by the Treadle On leader, "Captain" Dick Wightman.  I called the block "A Sewing Machine Named Desire", inspired by Treadle On members' constant hunt for that antique sewing machine that made their heart go pitter-pat.  My appliqué sewing machine is embellished with gold embroidery, including the name "Desire" and a crescent moon and stars (Crescent City being a nickname for New Orleans).

On other fronts, I made 350-something inches of bias binding and attached it to the Full Circle quilt.  I will try to stitch on this a little each morning - avoiding TV news and maybe binge-watching more Outlander.

Christmas prep department:  I put my AccuQuilt Go to work cutting Christmas trees and holly leaves.  I found a bargello table runner pattern online - Dec la Table - and since I had appropriate fabrics already in the stash, decided to give the pattern a try.  I've been wanting to make a bargello or Trip Around the World style table runner ever since I saw Diane D Knott's Mardi Gras table runner!

I didn't follow the exact instructions for the table runner, as the pattern in written to be done quilt-as-you-go style.  I just made the flimsy, then cut out some Accuquilt shapes instead of using the designs in the pattern.  I haven't fused the shapes in place yet.  Plus, I wanted to use metallic thread to outline all the appliqué shapes, but my metallic thread stash is not to be found (I think I pitched them all in a fit of cleaning; all of the threads were old, so probably not a great loss).  If anyone has any metallic thread recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

And now I've spent way too much time in front of my computer, so it's time to move.  I hope everyone is doing well, practicing good health routines, and not running low on toilet paper! 😃

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Fabric (and other) Therapy - Week Two

It's been another week of Fabric Therapy and social distancing.  

New Orleans is pretty shut down now - just about the only things open are grocery stores, pharmacies, and health care providers.  We are the hot spot in the state of Louisiana for COVID-19 infections and deaths.  Last night the mayor issued a Shelter in Place order, but the rules aren't that much different from what most of us are already doing.  

My Dear Husband is on call this weekend, so I decided to head to our camp in Mississippi to do a little spring cleaning.  I've been doing a real deep cleaning, plus re-organizing closets and cabinets; thinning out stuff that never gets used, etc.  I turned on Radio Margaritaville to keep me motivated - happy music and escapism!

I discovered a four-pack of these in the refrigerator while I was cleaning.  We must have purchased them last summer and forgotten about them.  I enjoyed one as I was cleaning, and between the ginger beer and Radio Margaritaville, I had a mini Caribbean vacation.  These are non-alcoholic, but with a little rum, they'd make a great Dark and Stormy!

I wanted to take my English Garden quilt outside for some photographs today. but it's been overcast and raining off and on.  Instead, I put my quilt rack to work and opened all the binds and curtains for as much daylight as possible.  Dear Husband made this quilt display rack several years ago.

My local LAQ, Cindy Braiwick, had a fun time with the quilting.  I tried to photograph her efforts, but the lighting and busy fabric weren't helpful.  She used lots of rose/flower designs, including individual flowers and buds in the background areas of the Sawtooth Star blocks.

Label attached.  I started this quilt in the spring of 2005.  Fifteen years later, I'm loving it!

My binge-watching this week has been Outlander, Seasons 2 and 3.  Not really enjoying Season 3 so far, but I think I'm only on Episode 3.

While binge-watching, I stitched up block 2 of Barbara Brackman's Civil War appliqué BOM:  Cassandra's Circle.  This block is Mulberry Wreath.  I had fun doing the fussy cutting.

And that's the news that's fit to print for now.  I hope everyone continues to stay safe and find helpful coping mechanisms for this stressful time.  Virtual hugs to everyone!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Fabric Therapy When We Really Need It!

It's been a crazy week, for sure! 

I've been relying on sewing, reading, and binge-watching shows from streaming services to keep down the stress levels.  

One of my goals this year is to make lots of quilt-oriented Christmas gifts.  To that end, I pulled out a well-aged jelly roll (Flurry by Kate Spain) and looked for some inspiration.
I'm not a fan of jelly roll pre-cuts - I think they're too limiting - but I really liked this fabric line, and the jelly roll was ON SALE!  Once I settled on a pattern recipe (this type of pattern is all over the internet), it didn't take long to sub-cut the fabric strips and assemble all the parts.  The border fabric also came from the stash - a Moda Grunge called Sugar Cookie.

I love the crisp, colorful look of the fabrics.  They're festive, but don't scream "Christmas".  Not sure who the lucky recipient will be, but I've made a start on my goal.

I've been making Carolina Chain blocks as a leader-ender project this year.  The Flurry quilt needed lots of leader-enders, so...
I chopped up lots of teal and aqua fabrics, as that's the theme for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This is just a few of the RSC blocks; I think I'm actually going to end up with enough blocks for two quilts by the end of the year.

I've been working on hand-stitching the binding on this quilt (English Garden by Kaye England).  I decided to get 'er finished this week and dialed up Season 3 of The Crown (Netflix) to keep me entertained while I stitched.  I finished the binding and hanger, just need to appliqué the label and the quilt will be finished.  Pictures soon.

One of my favorite forms of escapist reading is mystery/detective stories.  I think it comes from my childhood love for Nancy Drew.  I've read many different authors over the years and I love finding a new-to-me author with a series of mysteries that capture my imagination.  My latest find is the Tess Monaghan series by Laura Lippman.  Tess is a private investigator in Baltimore, Maryland and I think I enjoy the descriptions of Baltimore (a city much like New Orleans) as much as the detective adventures!

Stay safe out there, everyone! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Cassandra's Circle BOM: Block One

I couldn't resist playing along with Barbara Brackman's 2020 Civil War BOM:  Cassandra's Circle.  

The Civil War history focus for this BOM is the diary of South Carolinian Mary Boykin Chestnut.  

The BOM project itself will be a much larger quilt, including a large center medallion, and an appliquéd border.

I decided to stay with reproduction style fabrics for this year's BOM.  Several years ago, I inadvertently purchased two identical fat quarter collections from Penny Rose Fabrics:  Civil War Times.  I decided to put them to use on this project - I should have plenty of fabric!

The January block, called Washington's Plume, is also the center medallion.  After prepping all the pieces with the freezer paper/starch method, I used invisible stitch machine appliqué to attach the pieces.  As much as I have learned to enjoy hand appliqué, I wanted to get the block finished by the end of the month!

The February block, Mulberry Wreath, was published last week.  I have been contemplating how I can represent the leaves on the wreath using just my fat quarter fabrics, i. e. not adding any green fabric.  Luckily, I just learned a new-to-me appliqué tip from @Red_Alfreda (Mary Jenkins) on Instagram.  
Photocopied fabric
Her tip was to photocopy fabric to help plan how to cut shapes for broderie perse appliqué.  I figured the technique would work for auditioning appliqué shapes, too.

Now I can contemplate which fabric layout I like better before I even cut into my fabric!