Friday, July 31, 2015

Minnie Takes a Little Trip

Much as I am hooked on making the Country Charmer blocks we had planned a few days away along the Rideau Heritage Route and taking hand sewing made much more sense than a machine, so I packed Minnie into the car to see if we could get reacquainted a bit. We headed to a long-time family favourite, a cabin at The Opinicon at Chaffeys Locks.

The Opinicon is a traditional fishing resort - not that we fish - with tons of history that goes back over a hundred years. Sadly, for the past two years it has been closed but much to our delight (and that of hundreds of other regulars) new owners are breathing new life into the old gal. It's a work in progress with much more to be done but it was a real treat to be back for a few nights. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a meal on the porch will recognize these chairs.

The Rideau is rich in history and home to the oldest continuously operated canal in North America and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Forty-seven locks dot the 200 km waterway from Kingston to Ottawa and work today much as they did when the canal first opened in 1832, using hand cranks to operate the massive wooden locks.

It's a haven for boaters, anglers, and paddlers, and for land lubbers like us, an amazingly relaxing source of entertainment just watching the boats lock through. The fabulous food doesn't hurt either.

Minnie and I spent a little time together, either in our porch or atop the hill overlooking the lake, and four more larger diamond sets got finished.

It was totally relaxing and really fun getting back to this one.

I've still got a pile of diamonds to work with but I'm realizing that they are all quite light in colour; I need more mid to darker tones.

Here's the last one. Still lovin' the wide variety of colours and prints in this quilt.

I thought that I might finally take the next step and join four of the four-diamond panels, but with a view like this I was too easily distracted....M

Monday, July 27, 2015


The waiting is over. I've finally tackled my first blocks for Country Charmer and am totally charmed. I absolutely love this block!

There are 53 pieces to a block (yup, 53!) but they go together relatively quickly. I'm a process person and Lynn's instructions are really clear so I am totally in my zone.

I love seeing the different fabric combinations come to life and then how they all work well when the blocks are put together.

This is the first block that I made and you can see that the centre sections are just a tad off. I adjusted the position of my needle slightly for the next one and the rest have worked like a charm (pardon the pun).

Trimming is the key to happiness with these blocks.

Most of the bocks have two red and two green fabrics, but the odd one doesn't.

The colour in my photos is off a bit but you get the idea. I'll try for better colour next time out (red is always a challenge for me).

This is what they will look like when you add in the sashing strips and corners. Just love it!...M

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cream With a Side of Sashing

I know that I said that my cutting for Country Charmer was finished but now it truly is. All of the cream background pieces and the strips for the sashing are now done too.

I just laid all of the cream pieces on top of the little stacks for the blocks so they are all on the same tray and easily contained. It's amazing that all of those little piles are enough for a quilt top.

So now to sew. I resisted the temptation of making a block right away and opted to work on the 9-patches and the sashing to really feel like I was making progress. And progress was made. All 9-patches are finished (I think there's around 40) and all 71 of the 8.5" sashing strips that I need too.

I'm totally loving the red and cream together and can't wait to see these pieces beside the blocks. The cream is a tad on the grey side, sort of the colour of vanilla bean ice cream (how can that not be good?), and the red is just perfect in my books. On to the blocks....M

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Whole Lotta Cuttin' Goin' On

My kitchen table has finally been released from bondage, and none too soon as far as the Official Cookie Tester was concerned, I'm sure. I decided to put my nose to the grindstone and cut everything for Country Charmer, but I brought it upstairs rather than doing it in my sewing room so, with the exception of one small corner, the table has pretty much been unusable by anyone else. Incentive enough to move things along, and now the cutting's done. Yippeee skipeee!

The pattern includes a block layout sheet so that you can test your colour combinations, but once I got the hang of the piece sizes and where they sit in the block, I just laid them out on my cutting board. Besides, there was so much fabric flying around in a relatively small space that it was just easier to work on the board.

Each block has four different pattern pieces and then several background pieces. As each combination was cut I'd stack them together and lay them out on a tray. It helped me keep track of how many blocks I had cut as well as the distribution of fabric colours/prints.

I'm adding an additional row and a column of blocks because I want this to fit our bed so I cut for 30 blocks instead of 20. This is the Coles Notes version of what the quilt will look like, without the cream backing. I'll play with the final layout as the blocks are made but it was good to see a bird's eye view of things. I like!....M