Thursday, March 31, 2016

Beauty Shots of the Spools Quilt

One of the things I wanted to do when I was in California was take some beauty shots of the Spools quilt I made for my son and DIL.  My son and I went for a walk one morning and found this spectacular tree. When he told me it was his favorite (and how could it NOT be?) I knew it was the place to photograph the quilt.

I took a lot of pictures, but I like this one best, because you can see a bit of the back. This spot was only two miles away from the beach, and it was a breezy day. I spent a lot of time rearranging the quilt because the wind was blowing.

 Here's another good one, but I think the top one is the one.

When I got back to the house, I thought I'd take a picture of the quilt spread out on the ground, but my son's dog, Helo, had other plans.

It was pretty funny. He just couldn't leave it alone, and had to roll around all over the whole thing.  And I thought only cats claimed ownership of quilts!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Secret Society of Barn Builders

I have been keeping a big secret. I am a [free-pieced] barn builder.

It's always exciting to create something new, but in so many ways it's a lot more rewarding to inspire somebody else to do so.  In 2012 I made a quilt of houses called The Four Seasons. I made it as a sample quilt to promote a class I was teaching at Quilted Threads. I wanted houses that wouldn't intimidate anybody new to the concept of improvisational or "free-pieced" patchwork. I wanted to make more than one house, and I thought representing the seasonal changes where I live in New Hampshire would be a nice way to organize them.

My friend Julie was watching from the sidelines. She had wanted to do some houses, but not really. Julie was interested in barns. I might have said, "So don't make houses, make barns," I dunno. I was really badgering her.  One day she launched this idea: "I'm going to make barns. But I'm not going to do four seasons like you did. I'm going to make twelve barns, one for each month of the year."

This barn is along route 114 in New Hampshire.

Julie gave the quilt a lot of thought, and started making barns. As in all free pieced quilts, there were bumps in the road, but when she hit her groove, I was blown away. Julie had gone for broke and created a knockout quilt. The quilt, called See Rock City, has won awards and traveled all over the US. It's spectacular in pictures, and it's even better in real life. It was no surprise that the AQS offered her a book deal.

Julie's incredible focus and attention to detail have resulted in a book that will be published next month and is available for pre-order on Amazon. The book not only teaches you how to make your own barns, but tells the story from inspiration to completion, along with several very painful speedbumps along the way.

It was important to Julie that her readers would be able to make their own barns, so she asked several quiltmakers if they'd be willing to build barns using her process notes for reference. Fifteen quiltmakers from all over the world, and in varying degrees of comfort with "free piecing" agreed. Julie has a great penchant for naming things, and thus, in December of 2014, the Secret Society of Barn Builders was created. I'm proud to be one of them.

Most of the members of the SSOBB have never met in person (actually, I've met five others), but we emailed each other constantly when we built our barns in the winter of 2014- 2015, and have become great pals. These barn quilts are amazing! Just a few more weeks now until we can share them with the world.  

This barn is in Goffstown New Hampshire, just across the town line from Manchester, NH's biggest city.

Julie had visited me in New Hampshire in the spring of 2014, and I had told her how I NEVER saw barns in my area. But six months later I moved just five miles away from the city where I had lived for 27 years, and suddenly I was surrounded by them!  Now I see them all over the place. Funny how having something brought to your attention opens your eyes.

You'll see my barns here on April 25, and you'll be able to see the other incredible barns and read their stories in the following weeks.  There will be at least two exhibits of all the barns from the SSOBB, and you can read a bit more about that here.

It's exciting to be a part of the SSOBB, and I can't wait for the book to be out so we can tell the whole wonderful story.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring is Coming, Eventually...

Last week it was warm and sunny. This week we have had snow and wet weather. I bought this Stargazer Lily so I could enjoy it while it blooms. When the weather gets warmer, I'll plant it in the garden outside. In the meantime, it's a real treat.

Of course, so is this!!! (My DIL & future grandbaby!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

More Stripped Squares*

I'm liking where this is going, but I've got a couple of blocks that don't fit. They read as "warm" where the rest are "cool." No worries, this is all from stash and scraps, and I'm just enjoying making blocks. I'm also coming to the realization that the busier cream backgrounds aren't doing me any favors.

*I don't know what these blocks are called, so I made something up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Backing the BW Slashed Squares

I'm always amazed by the generosity of quilt bloggers, but I know I shouldn't be. One of my readers, Gail, asked if I needed some black and white fabrics, as she had more than enough.  I said "Sure!"

Even so, I was stunned when UPS delivered an enormous box filled with eight pounds of fabric to my door. Gail, you really rock!

There was a lot of truly great stuff in that big box. I'll be using most of it in the pieced backing of the black and white Slashed Squares quilt. I know I want to use the mini SS blocks on the backing too, so it will be fun to play with these different elements and see how they work out.

Monday, March 21, 2016

I Am a Bowl Freak

My name is Lynne and I am addicted to bowls. I think a nice dining room table should have a nice bowl on it. So I have a few bowls.

Don't believe me? Check out these photos...

This is the Christmas Random Plank quilt, with a red bowl for the holidays. (Yeah, Millie decorates the table also.)

My Picnic Table quilt (a Rail Fence) that I use in the winter seems to like this white bowl.

The Blue Deco quilt is topped by this asymmetrical silver bowl with blue on the inside.

The Fall House Top quilt is graced with a large wooden bowl.

My friends Julie and Larry have given me a couple of very beautiful bowls that I love very much (even more so because Larry made them.) Here's one of them.

So now that Spring is here, I'm using Julie's Hidden Potential quilt on my dining room table. It's green. OK, maybe it isn't all green, but it's spring-y. And it needed.. okay, I wanted... a new bowl for it, so I went shopping.

These were the two that spoke to me at the store. I set them down on the floor next to each other so I could decide. Wasn't a tough decision.

But you know me. I'm never satisified with the status quo. I've gotta keep pushing. So I drove myself to another store. You know, that import one.

I walked around and found this. The glove should give you a sense of the scale. This plastic covered wire bowl is about 36" long. They had a smaller one, about 18" long. I held them up and asked the clerk, "OK, if this is the Pappa Bear, and this one is the Baby Bear, do you have a Mama Bear?"

Um no.

Hmm... I had to think. I don't even have a table cover for this bowl yet.  Well, not quite yet, but I know which one it will grace.


*btw, the table covers are not all the same size, and that's intentional. The Fall House top is the largest, designed so it will fit the table with all three extra leaves in place and both end flaps raised. At that size, it can seat twelve. The Black and White Slashed Squares isn't quite as large, but will fit the table with two leaves in place, so it will seat eight to ten. I knew the big bowl would work on the table when it is extended.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

This and That

It's been hard for me to get back into the swing of things since I got back from California last month. I've been dawdling. I've been reading. I have to do my taxes. I've got to call a plumber to fix a toilet that won't flush. I've got to wash the kitchen floor.

I know that when this happens I have to start somewhere and do something. So the laundry is done, the sheets are changed, the living room and dining room have been vacuumed. I have a batch of vegetarian chili all made and ready for my lunches this week. The week's dinner menus are planned. The bills have been paid and the checkbook is balanced.

Last weekend it was so nice and warm I spent the time outside raking the shade and vegetable gardens. I planted some Arugula and some spring lettuce. I also trimmed back the clemantis over the carport and prepared the bed by the side of the driveway. 

I haven't been idle, but I haven't really wanted to get into the studio because I knew if I fell in love with a project, the other stuff wouldn't get done.

There is one thing that has been bugging me for a long time, and I finally decided to do something about it.

Look past the quilt on the table in the photo above. Look at the window, and what's outside.

What's out there is the carport, the trash can and the recycling bin, and often, some gardening supplies and all that junk.  But what really bugs me is that if somebody walks by they can see whatever's going on in my house. Which I do not like. Want a better view?

This isn't exactly the view you want to see from your dining room table, so after a bit of research, I went to the big box hardware store and got some of that removable film you can apply to windows.

One advantage of being a quiltmaker is that we have tools to make long straight cuts.

THIS is SO much better.

Woo Hoo! Now I have more privacy, and it didn't block the light.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


In August of 2014 I started making these blocks from an article in the AQ magazine about one of Gwen Marston's quilts. I stopped because I had to pack to move into this house (which I did in October 2014).  The other day, after finishing the black and white Slashed Squares, I was looking around and noticed the box full of fabrics I had set aside for this quilt. Some creams with bright colors on them, and a jelly roll of violet and green batiks, along with some other coordinating strips. 

The blocks are 6-1/2" square, and I think these will make a lovely baby quilt.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring is in the Air

It was time to change out the quilt on the dining room table. It seemed too early to use the blue summer quilt, so I am using Hidden Potential, the quilt my pal Julie made for me using my leftover bits. Just goes to prove that just because something is wrong for one project, it doesn't mean it can't be successfully used in another.

The new cell phone arrived yesterday and it took barely an hour to set it up and restore everything. Lucky me.

For those of you fortunate enough to visit the AQS Lancaster show that begins today, keep a lookout for my quilt, the Black & White Crayons. You can see a photo of it at the bottom of this post. If anybody would like to buy a Lancaster show pin for me, I'd much appreciate it, and will be happy to reimburse you for the cost plus shipping to me. Email me at patcherymenagerie AT gmail DOT com. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Oh Crap, Part Two

So bad news, good news, bad news.

1. My iPhone is well and truly dead. It won't do anything when I try to turn it on. I'm not surprised, really. It spent at least 10 minutes in the washing machine under two feet of water.

2. Yes, I had ordered the total replacement insurance for it.

3. The deductible is $199USD. 

Since the phone belongs to the company, and they gave it to me to use, it belongs to them. I broke it, I pay for the deductible to replace it. That's fair and square. I can't tell you how long I've had a cell phone except that it's a long time. Since probably 2000 or so, when I had a tiny flip phone. In all that time, I've never broken a phone, and I've had a flip phone, a Blackberry, a MS smartphone, an iPhone 4, iPhone 5s and now an iPhone 6s. Maybe I was due. Who knows.

An aside: my son works for Apple Care. Had I purchased the phone from Apple, and bought AppleCare (for $150) I could have got a replacement for $99. And I'm entitled to TWO replacements in 3 years. Food for thought, sports fans. (The insurance from the carrier is 9 bucks a month, and over three years that's $324. Like my son said, "that's too much.")

All day I've been using my old iPhone 5s. OMG, is it tiny. Now I couldn't use it for calls or sending or receiving email or texts without activating it (which I did not want to do until I knew for sure what I would do with the damaged one), but I could get alarms and basic stuff. At the end of the day what bugged me the most was the thing was so small and hard to read. So I calculated the $199 cost over a full year and determined that at 55 cents a day, the replacement was worth it. I figured, WTH, this is what a savings account is for.

So I filed a claim, forked over the $$$ and I should have a replacement later today or tomorrow.

Best news? I'm good at making sure I sync it regularly to iTunes, and all my photos from my phone automagically sync to my iPad.  So I didn't lose any data or photos.

Life could be a whole lot worse.

PS Today is my dear DIL's birthday.
Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Oh Crap

Yes, that is my cell phone (an iPhone 6s I've had since it was released last fall), in a plastic bag of rice in a larger bag of a heavy duty dessicant.

A dessicant is something that takes water out of the air or stuff it's close to. You see, my cell phone took a trip through the washing machine on Saturday morning.  I spilled something really messy, and stinky on my bathrobe and in my eagerness NOT to make a mess on the floor, I ripped of the bathrobe and threw it in the washing machine.  It was only later when I went looking for my cell phone and couldn't find it that I thought to look in the washing machine. There it was, under two feet of water. It had been there at least ten minutes.

It's probably the wet version of "toast", but I dried it out as best I could, sucked the water out of it with a vacuum and did a lot of things various websites and YouTube videos suggested.

I had sync'd it with iTunes on Wednesday, so I won't lose any DATA, but frankly, the data doesn't really concern me. All my photos sync to my iPad, and everything is backed up to my computer and to iCloud. What I really want is the device to work. Now sure, I have my old iPhone 5 to go back to if worse comes to worst, but hell, I really loved my iPhone 6s.  I can't remember if I ordered the replacement insurance when I ordered it. It's a work phone, and that information is safely tucked away in my desk at work. I'll know on Monday.

In the meantime the phone is in the bag with the dessicant and if I am extremely lucky, I'll know in about 48 hours if I can rescue this one.


update Monday morning - it's still dead. Not looking good.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Black & White Slashed Squares Flimsy Complete

 The black and white Slashed Squares flimsy is complete. And here is where it will live when it is finished. On my dining room table. I made it big enough so it I add a couple of the table extensions, it will still cover the entire surface.

 I have Fiestaware dishes so this will be a pretty table when it is all set. But for this photo, I've just used my big white bowl.

 My pal Julie likes photos of crumpled quilts, so here you go Julie. I can see the quilt will also look good on my charcoal gray couch. Of course, my cat Millie will look good on it too.

Here's the finished flimsy on the design wall (and the floor, because the wall isn't big enough.)

The other day Wanda suggested I try the minis right down the middle. I didn't feel they brought anything to the party. The quilt on its own has a lovely kind of rhythm and I felt the mini blocks broke that rhythm apart, and to me, they muddied the crisp "black and white"-ness of the quilt. I think the combination of mini and full sized blocks may have been better had the quilt been more colorful and scrappy, but that's an exercise for another time. I'll certainly use the mini blocks - probably on the back. We'll see.

For those of you who wanted to see if this pattern could be accomplished in black and white, obviously it can, but let me warn you, the success is all in the fabric choices. There were several "white" fabrics and at least one "black" I used that looked good in the blocks, but when placed next to other blocks were a lot more ambiguous than I had anticipated. I got them to work, but it wasn't without a fair amount of fuss. I didn't count, but I must have had at least 20 different fabrics. For this quilt, I had to go shopping. I think this particular pattern (Click here for my Slashed Squares tutorial) is most successful the more fabrics you use.

The  backing and binding will stay black and white with no color. If you're going to go over the top, you should keep going, and for this quilt, it means NO COLOR.

Monday, March 7, 2016


I've sewn all 28 Slashed Squares blocks. The big blocks were so graphic and powerful, the small ones just got lost in the mix. So as I sewed up a block, I threw it up on the design wall.  When I had all 28 made, I started moving them around. I wanted to distribute the darkest darks, and the lightest lights. There are also a few "whites" that are actually "cream," and I didn't want those to be clustered together.

I spent about half an hour rearranging the blocks and I thought this was it, but after I took this photo I moved a couple more blocks around. I'll let this sit, and look at it again tomorrow. If I'm still happy with it, I'll start sewing this together.

With the blocks finishing at 14" square, four blocks by seven works out to about 56" x 84".  If you think it's a funny size, you're right, but this will be a table cover for my dining room table.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mixing It Up

Here are a few of the big blocks with some of the minis.

I'm not sure they bring anything to the party. I'm going to make more blocks and then I'll play around a bit. 


I think this proves rather definitively that the Slashed Squares in black and white can work very successfully.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Chicken Quilt is Going to Paducah!

WOO HOO!  My quilt, "Too Much Chicken" has been accepted into the American Quilter's Society show in Paducah Kentucky from April 20 - 23 2016.

I'd be lying if I told you I ever expected it to get into any show at all. It was Gerald Roy who told me the quilt was better than I thought it was, and that I should enter it in the AQS Paducah show.

The Black & White Crayons quilt has also been accepted into the show in Paducah.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sliced Up

I sliced up all my big blocks last night. 

The tutorial for this quilt is here: Slashed Squares. The blocks finish out at 14". The mini ones will finish out at 7" square.

Here are some of the combinations I have come up with so far.

After I rearrange all the pieces of the large blocks and sew them up, I'll slice the small ones and do the same thing. Then I'll start playing around with a layout.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

36 Minis

Here are the 36 mini square in square blocks.

Next up is slicing and dicing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

More Black & White Blocks

Here's one of my favorite Black & White blocks.

I've got 28 big blocks. Here they are in groups of four, in no particular order: