Sunday, 13 April 2014

Benjamin Biggs Quilt - Block 2

I finished the April block last night and I prepped the January block this afternoon for my rail commutes this week. Hopefully, I can complete the January block in time for May's block and then I will only be trailling March - a bit confusing I know, but I am just trying to catch-up.

Block 4 - April 2014
It's Easter week and most people are on holiday, so should get quite a bit of work done, both on the train and in the office.

March or is it April?

Okay this should have been posted in March, but I've been just too busy with work to post so here goes - March has seen PROGRESS and a NEW START!

Beyond the Cherry Trees 
I've finished another block - the 19th - two blocks in two months - I am on a roll!!

I've lost count of how many blocks I have completed, I think this might be block 20?

Benjamin Biggs Quilt
Now I have to ask myself, do I really, really, need another project?? Should I really, really finish a project first???!! I am blaming a certain somebody who lives in Texas for putting me in this quandary - as if I should really, really be asking myself these questions in the first place, especially when I already know the answers to them! 

Answer - YES and nooooo!

So herewith the Benjamin Biggs Quilt - a free BoM available from Gay at Sentimental Stitches and Brenda at Dear Jane. This month's block is available now to download from Gay's site and then the May block will be available from Brenda's site - the patterns are being published on the 1st of each month.

The Benjamin Biggs Quilt - Lafayette, Indiana
The blocks are being published in block order which helps with the planning, but then that means you need enough of the fabric you will be using for the applique, from the beginning of the project i.e. it will be harder to blend in new fabrics if you suddenly add them in the last row. Hmmm... and I rather enjoyed how Gay did the Beyond the Cherry Trees Quilt patterns because we never knew until they were published which block you would get next.

Now, in true Fiona fashion, I am not going to follow the traditional red and green of this quilt - I have instead decided on blues and yellow-browns. Originally it was going to be pinks and greens from my stash, but then on a visit to Puddleducks to buy some background fabric I-spyed some lovely Jo Morton blues and browns on the shelf and that was it! I have added to the pile from my stash and will continue to do so as the project progresses, but I am very pleased with the current selection, but amazed how not all blues go together, but maybe they will blend better once in their blocks.

Fabrics for the Benjamin Biggs Quilt
I have selected a Makower Essentials fabric as the background - it is in an ecru colour to give the whole some warmth and since it is one of their basic fabrics, I can buy a metre at a time without worrying that it won't be on the shelf the next time I go into the shop.

Each of the original blocks is a finished 16" square and whilst that's a usual size for me (e.g. Beyond the Cherry Tree quilt blocks), I had to ask myself do I want another quilt that measures 100" square? So I have decided instead to make my blocks 14" finished, making a quilt that will be 90" square. As you know, I like to stitch on my rail commute to work and the other week there was a happy happenstance because the width of the tables on the train are... 17" - so ideal for prepping the blocks!

Prepping on the train

and here's the first block completed... It's block 2 for February, but I wanted to start with a simple block just to see how the colours work and then progress from there.

February 2014 block
I have decided to alternate the blocks between blue leaves and stems in one block and brown leaves and stems in another - well, that's the plan!

So what has happened to Phebe with the new start? Well, there has been a little and I mean a little bit of stitching. I have to admit I am struggling for the motivation, I suppose it has something to do with having done the centre block before. If I could only get over this hiatus...

Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, 7 February 2014

It's raining, it's pouring....

Rain, rain go away
[Don't] come back another day!

Will this wild weather ever stop??? We are being lashed and battered on a daily basis by storm force winds and rain. Large parts of the southwest, southern and southeastern England have either been or are being flooded, and currently we here in the Southeast of England are on amber alert - be prepared for possible evacuation and damage to people and property. Some say that we are about to be hit by another storm brewing out in the Atlantic which will be worse than the 1987 storm - I putting it down to scaremongering!

There are some sorry stories though of flooding on the Somerset levels and the waves have been fearsome along the south coast affecting transport. Trains on Southeastern railways are now travelling at just 40 mph because of high winds blowing down trees and other obstacles onto the track and there have been a number of landslips. The river Medway burst its banks over Christmas flooding Tonbridge town centre and the village of Yalding and there were power outages for large parts of Kent - a pretty miserable Christmas with no electricity to cook the Christmas lunch and no heating.

I could say that "I'm alright, Jack",  as I live up the side of a valley and my cottage is set on top of an embankment, but when the rain comes down, the road outside channels a torrent of grey looking water as it picks up chalk deposits from the surrounding Downs and heads for the Guzzle in the middle of the village. How much more the surrounding land can take though is difficult to say and I haven't been across the field behind me which has a dew pond in it - I wonder whether the pond has become a lake? I know however that Church Lane is flooded.

Barney is not a happy cat - he definitely does not like the rain and he has had to resort to his litter tray more often than not.

But, he definitely knows where the best spots are to keep warm... in MY bed!!

My stitching has been slow in recent weeks, but I finally finished another block...

Beyond the Cherry Trees
This is block 18, although I have another two blocks "on the go".

Block 18

I had had difficulty in choosing the fabric for the basket. The fabric on the other basket in the quilt had a strong design feature, so I knew I needed something to offset it and I found this fabric in Caroline's Cottage in Rome City, Indiana back in November. Got home and decided it was just perfect for the job, cut out the fabric and put the remainder of the fabric away, only to find... yes, I already had the same fabric in my stash!

Phebe Quilt
Well, this is growing slowly - too slowly really and will be my focus for this weekend. I have now chosen all the fabrics for the centre block except for the urn - I just cannot make up my mind, so I'll decide once I have a few more pieces stitched down including the hillock
Phebe progress as of January 2014 :-(
Thanks for looking in!

Friday, 20 December 2013


This meeting saw the largest gathering (ever?), for the Dear Jane Retreat with 122 attendees not only from the USA, but from Canada, Australia, Norway, Germany(via Norway), Belgium and of course me from the UK - we were truly an international meet!

With Elaine's excellent organisation skills, 122 people in the sewing room at one time did not feel like the tight squeeze that I feared (I am very uncomfortable in large crowds), and the time passed so quickly with the stitching, chatting to old friends and new, eating and of course all the shopping including a 3 hour visit to the ubiquitous boat in the basement of Lollys.

Here's Theresa, Gay, Myself and Carla taking a breather from searching the boat!
Picture by Claire
Five of us spent 3 hours turning the contents of that boat over and over, there were some wonderful treasures in there, believe me!

Rosemary Youngs gave a special retrospective presentation of some of her quilts - apologies for some of the photographs...

And then of course there was the Show n' Tell on Friday night...
We had a number of "Goddess's" present - you are crowned a goddess when you complete your Dear Jane Quilt. Here are a few of them...

Caroline Van Maele - Belgium

Barbara Larson and her 2" block Dear Jane Quilt
Trudi Wells from New York - This was a truly emotional moment, I have been watching Trudi make her quilt for 9 years - there's hope for me one day!
Nancy King - Indianapolis
Rosemary Youngs becomes a Dear Jane Goddess!
Made by Nancy King
Patty Harris and her Just Take 2 Quilt
Patty and Prue made the same quilt, but in different colourways
Prue's Just Take 2 Quilt
Edith Shanholt's Phebe Quilt - close-up of centre
Edith Shanholt's Phebe Quilt
Each November, in the wee small hours of Saturday morning the animals, led by Timothy get up to tricks. But this year...Timothy (the leader of the pack) had been forgotten back home in Indianapolis and the animals were not happy! 



Pam, Timothy's owner, was not allowed to forget that she had forgotten him and had to sit opposite this to remind her of this fact!

After all the wild weather of the previous weekend, snow began to fall - cue, one very excited Brit!

One more post to come!

Have a good stitching day!

Monday, 9 December 2013

USA 2013 - part 4

 Red and Green Exhibit at the Quilter's Hall of Fame

I love anything applique especially Red and Green Quilts and this was a great exhibit displaying the genre. The majority of quilts are from around Indiana - enjoy!

Whig Rose or Rose Bud Wreath
1840 - 1860
Made by Mary Jane Porter, Harrison County
Closeup of Whig Rose or Rose Bud Wreath
Whig Rose - 1845 - 1865
Made by Lavinia Rudicil Rubottom of Franklin County
Lavinia's only child died at age two, and she is said to have pieced quilts at night by lamp and candle-light whilst waiting for her husband William to return home from evening work. His will left a bequest "to her use and benefit... so long as she continues my widow and no longer". Lavinia never re-married.
Close up of Whig Rose
The Turkey Red fabric is "shattering" because of the caustic dye process used
Closeup of Whig Rose Border
The quilt is densely quilted and has a stuffed scalloped border
Whig Rose - 1910 - 1935
Maker Unknown
The mint green and pink fabric used in this quilt is a 20th century interpretation of the red and green palette of the 19th century

Appliqued Signature Album Quilt 1855 - 1869
Made by Katherine Newly Hodson of Arno, Hendricks County
Each block of this quilt is stamped with a name and town. Mrs. Hodson, possibly a Quaker, made it for her daughter Catherine Carter of Plainfield. The vine border is appliqued with a sewing machine, which was a new and costly invention and was shown off with pride
Close-up of a very unusual block!
Bleeding Heart 1850 - 1860
Made by Susannah Whitinger of Zionsville, Boone County
Coxcomb or Olive Branch 1850's
Unknown maker, from Parker or Vigo County
Note that the border has only three sides suggesting that the bed was pushed against the wall
Currants and Coxcombs 1821
Made by Amelia Lemon, Clarke County
Amelia finished her quilt at age 15. Three years later she married Eliphalet Pearson, with whom she had
12 children!

Pot of Roses 1854 - 1880's
Made by Elizabeth Ann Shipman Powell from Dugger, Sullivan County
Made up of four large blocks, the swag border hangs in the opposite direction than usual i.e. they are facing in rather than out. The top was most probably made during the 1850's, but it was not quilted until the 1880's.

Pot of Roses 1840 - 1860Maker and place unknown
An unusual pattern of moss roses, so named because of the distinctive points on their green calyxes

Close-up of Pot of Roses
The Freelandville Masonic Quilt - 1849
Made by Sarah Culbertson Freeville, Freelandville, Knox County
Masonic Emblems drawn by Dr. J. I. Freeland, Sarah's husband appear amongst floral bouquets.
While saving a quilt's origins is vital, it is strongly recommended that information is added to a label which is then stitched to the back of the quilt, rather than written directly onto the surface (see bottom left corner!)
Close-up of centre block
Close-up of Freelandville Masonic Quilt block
note the beehive and bees signifying industriousness
Old Soldier's Rose 1976
Made by Jean Funderburgh, San Jose, California
An original design - 1875 - 1890
Made by Samantha V. Arnett Davisson, of Jackson Township, Tippecanoe County
Samantha and her husband William had 9 children. They raised shorthorn cattle and Shropshire sheep. William held several county and township positions including commissioner, assessor and road supervisor.
Close-up of the block design
Unnamed pattern - 1858
Made by P.F. Martin from Clarksburg, Decatur County


Strawberry Quilt 1840 - 1860
Made by Nancy Jane Shannon-Rodgers, Parkersburg, Montgomery County
The quilting averages 14 stitches per inch!

Tulip Signature Album Quilt 1951 - 1970's
Made by Stella Bonner, Knox or Clinton County
The quilt includes autographs of famous people including Richard Nixon and Neil Armstrong
Close-up with Neil Armstrong's signature
Rose of Sharon
I do not appear to have any details about this block nor a full picture of the quilt, I think because of the backlighting by daylight (you can see the cotton seeds in the batting), which made the picture too dark, but from what I can remember it's about 1840.
Whig Rose or Tea Rose 1850 - 1870
Made by Hannah Sias, Knox County, Ohio
This four block quilt was appliqued using very fine whip stitches, but quilted by a less experienced hand. Hannah was a Mennonite who emigrated from Switzerland to Maryland and then Ohio.Her daughter brought the quilt to Berne, Adams County, Indiana. Four generations of quilts made by the family are in the Indiana State Museum's collection

Finally, I have two more pictures of quilts which whilst on display were not part of the Red and Green exhibit and therefore should have been added to part 3...
A Marie Webster designed quilt hanging next to her work-table
Florence Peto's 9 patch challenge 1995
Made by Bets Ramsey with fabrics from Florence Peto's collection.
Peto wrote to Elizabeth Richardson about the Nine-patch crib quilt she was making (now in the Shelburne Museum), Sending diagrams, she encouraged Elizabeth to do the same. Bets used the diagrams and the fabric sent to Elizabeth to complete the challenge.

I hope you enjoyed the exhibit - there is a lot to inspire!

Have a good stitching day!