Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Red, the White, and the Blues

The 4th of July is a few days away, and there are signs of it everywhere. This little town attracts huge crowds of people the same day each year. They come for bingo, carnival games, and chicken barbeque. The kiddie rides pulled in today, and more will follow. The parade is at 2 in the afternoon, and if you sit near the curb, you might get lucky and score an icy treat handed to you with a smile. Until a few years ago, it was entirely horse-drawn, if you can imagine. Things stay busy here until 10 p.m. when the real show begins. We love our fireworks, and put on a good show! This is the quintessential Small Town, U.S.A. 

Early in the morning, blankets start covering the hillside at the park. Tarps if rain threatens, but I've also seen old quilts laying there. Yes, it stops my heart, too, but at least they are utility quilts. I remember one done mainly in red, white, and blue, and how it stood out among the others. The colors were beautiful.

I decided to recreate something with the same feeling. I wanted a very simple quilt, so I pulled some prints in red and blue, and solid whites from my stash. 

If you look closely at the reds and the blues above, you'll see there is a deliberate mixing of tints and shades. I did not try to match one color. My goal was a variety of lights and darks with small prints, mediums, and at least one large. I did not have a very large print in the reds, but there is a wide selection in scale.

I used my June Taylor cutting grid to make 5" strips of blue and white in the width of each fabric. The grid makes cutting go extremely fast! I sewed one of each together, and then went to pressing. Staying organized helps. Here's my process: Lay the strips on the far side of your ironing area. As the first one goes on your board, spray the underside of the next one in line with starch. Back to the one on the ironing board, just bump the seam to one side, then flip and press on the right side. This gives your starch a chance to sink into the fabric. By not pressing on the side you've sprayed, you won't have flaking. Lay them to the side in order when you're done.

Over to cutting table and June Taylor grid, and cut them into strips again. I laid up to 3 in a stack to cut 3 at a time. With the cut out grooves in this ruler, I cut around 4 widths without moving the fabric or the ruler.

This is my layout on the floor at the end of a short time investment. It is my only option as my design wall is completely full at the moment. I've done a simple checker board of blues and white.

Today's work is waiting. I used the same grid, but used the 2.5" cutting lines. The longer I cut, the less enthused I was about making this the backing. I believe my one idea will grow into 2 quilts, but we shall see. I'm running short on time.

Do you have plans for the weekend? Is the work starting to pile up, and you think you might not get it all done? That's me already. The weeds keeping growing, the mulch pile has not been touched, and the rain keeps coming. Will people notice my weeds and yard that looks like I made hay? Probably. Is it worth stressing over? No. Life is real. Family is real. Memories are real. I guarantee in 20 years no one will remember my windows need a good cleaning, but they will remember the laughter that filled the house, and the toasts to our last one's graduation. It will be wonderful no matter what isn't 'just perfect'. Be kind to yourself, and live in the moment this weekend. I will, too.

Happy Canada Day, and an early 
Happy Fourth of July!

My oldest daughter and I many years ago in the 4th of July Parade. She won "Best of Parade" for horses that year with Buck the Wonder Pony. Such fun memories we have!

Linking up today with~
My Quilt Infatuation


Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts said...

I'll have to get out my Shape Cut - I never use it! I love your new blog look!

Pedal Sew Lightly said...

I grew up in small-town-USA and have fond memories of our area's month long celebration. Five weekends of community fun. Beauty pageant, talent show, parade, cavalcade of drums and the big finish, an unlimited hydroplane race on the Columbia River. My sister and I were in a baton twirling group so we were very involved. Thanks for reviving my memories. Have a great celebration!

Linda Swanekamp said...

I always use the Shape Cut except now I also bought a Stripology ruler from Creative Grid as it is stiffer and longer. I even trim blocks with it.