Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Spot of This...

It was a lovely, though slightly breezy, day here so I decided to pick up my Spot quilt and do a bit of stitching out on the deck in the shade of the umbrella. It was lovely because we have had long hot stretch of weather lately so it was nice to have it blown out.

I've got nine blocks together now and am really enjoying the look of it as it grows.There are another three blocks ready to be added now. I just LOVE blue & white quilts.

The original pattern doesn't have any borders, but I really like the look of the cherry & gingham print that I am using for the squares with the blue polka dots fabric so I think I might incorporate a border using it, and maybe some white. It will probably use up the last of that gingham. What a great print it has been. I picked it up in Walmart several years ago and it has found its way into a few quilts. So bright and cheerful.

And this is what happens to your photo shoot when a sudden breeze picks up!....M

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Third in a Series

As promised, here are a few pics of Jane's 'Mary Englebright' quilt, the same one that mom and Betty made. And, if you look closely you see a few of Mary's prints scattered throughout.

She started making it after she saw mom's and stitched it around the same time that mom was making hers (I have to admit that I have no recall in that regard - yikes!). Like the other two, it is all hand pieced.

Don't you just love the funky valentine/sweetheart border fabric that she used?

So there you have it - one pattern, three lovely interpretations.

Which reminds me, I still have to bind mom's....M

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heading In The Wrong Direction

I've been dithering as to whether or not I still like the pinwheels for the Spring Garden border and finally decided to take the pile that I had sewn and string them together to get a better feel for how things would look. And that was fine for a while, until I realized that this one was backwards...

...all of the others spun in the opposite direction. Or so I thought.

There are actually three blocks that are backwards to what I need. Guess I wasn't paying attention at one point! I toyed with taking them apart and redoing them but will give them to Betty instead as she is collecting orphan blocks, so now she will have a few more to work with.

And, because I have only so much of a few of the blue prints I want to be certain that they are distributed throughout the border, so I started working on two border panels at the same time. I think that I will start all 4 so that I can ensure that each of the prints is scattered all the way around. The panels go together quite quickly once the blocks are all ready so you get a great sense of accomplishment. And it's such a happy block it's hard not to have fun with them, even if a few are backwards.

The pinwheels look really sweet beside the centre panel of the top but I still need to incorporate a strip or two of other prints and probably one or two white borders as well to tie it all together. I had been leaning towards using a narrow bit of green but now that I see everything together I'm thinking that either a pink or cherry red would work too - maybe both. Time to audition a few options.

So now that I've settled on the pinwheels I'll get back to cutting.

But there are still plenty more HSTs lined up and ready to go so I'll put those together first. And hopefully I'll get everyone going in the same direction this time!...M

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm Seeing Spots

Look what arrived in yesterday's mail...lots and lots and lots of dots! A short while back Ann Babillis from Orange Crumpled Napkin had a giveaway for this lovely selection on her blog, all you had to do was leave a comment as to what you felt was important in creating an effective blog. I don't normally enter giveaways but, you know me, if anyone ask for my opinion I am more than happy to oblige. So I left a comment and it turns out that my name was picked from the hat, so this was my reward. Aren't they great? There's also a wide two-tone striped piece included but it missed getting into the photo. I'll need to see what I can whip up with these. Thanks so much, Ann, and for your lovely note.

In addition to checking the mailbox for goodies I have done a bit more on my Christmas Flying Geese quilt.

More geese are now together which means lots of corners to trim...

I couldn't resist starting to string a few together. SO nice! At the risk of repeating myself, I'm really going to like this one. I love the scrappy nature of it and want to see if I can find a few more greens to mix things up a bit more. To move things along I'm doing all of the geese for one piece of red or green at at time rather than randomly putting them together. That way I know that I am using my light colours only once with each colour and not creating duplicates. Anal, I know, but it will give me a good variety...M

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Songs From The Big Chair

Remember the Tears For Fears album from 1985, Songs From The Big Chair? Well, lately I'm feeling like I'm doing my own song from the big chair. When I had pulled out the Spring Garden top a while back I thought it would be a relatively quick finish. But then I started sewing the pinwheels by hand and that has slowed things considerably, so with my machine back home it prompted me to take another look at the chair where my projects are piled and I pulled out two batik tops that were close to being finished (the chair really isn't that big, the pile was just really high!).

Actually, when I looked closer I realized that one top was finished and the second just needed the borders, so that was incentive to get it done and move a little more off the list. I also thought that the quilts were the same size but that wasn't right either (there's that selective memory, again). I think when I started buying fabric for this one I got carried away and had bought so much that there was enough to make two, so I did. There are still leftovers so maybe I'll do the baby quilt version as well.

The pattern is from Time To Quilt by Anne Moscicki and is call The Neighbour's Fence because it is a modified Rail Fence, with one block of two strips and one of three. The book is designed around planning quilt retreats so the patterns can easily be made by a group or individually and it has the added bonus of having great recipes interspersed throughout.

I have to admit that I haven't yet tried any of the recipes but now that I see the book again I think that Auntie's Chocolate Cake with Mocha Walnut Frosting deserves a try.

You can see an alternative colour palette on the left page but I don't think that it was nearly as appealing as the bright batiks. The pattern also had stars randomly appliqued throughout but I opted to go without the stars.

The Neighbour's Fence
I've used the same border fabric for both quilts - a gorgeous deep green with just a hint of fuscia berries throughout - with orange corners on one and red corners on the larger one. Maybe I should have looked at the book again before I sewed on that last border because the red really appeals to me as well and I have enough red for a border. Oh well.

Don't you just love that black and white stripe in there with all of those rich colours? Unfortunately the green is coming up really flat, but it is really quite stunning.

Dreyfuss napping with quilt
Mom also made this quilt several years ago as a Christmas gift for Mike & Lili's dog, Dreyfuss, and he still loves it. Here he is in Helsinki in 2009 after an exhausting week at the cottage and you can see a hint of his quilt in the background. She used bright calicos rather than batiks and he really seemed to like it....M

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bright & Beautiful

Last time I showed you Betty's 'Mary Englebright' quilt; today I'll share mom's version with you. It's a bright and cheerful and scrappy. If you saw the comments on my last post you'll know that it really isn't a Mary Englebright pattern at all - it's just what we started calling it because of the bright colours! Selective memory or what?

Where Betty's had 4 basic block colour combinations this one is totally random with no two bocks repeated - at least not the colourways.

It is such a wonderful quilt. This will be one that you like falling asleep under. When we were young we had an applique butterfly baby quilt that we would nap under and most, if not all, of the butterflies were made of different fabrics. Part of what kept you entertained (and probably quiet!) was looking at all the butterflies to see if you could find duplicates. This one will be the same.

I remember having lots of fun pulling the fabrics for the borders. If you look closely at the dark patterned strip you'll see that it is lots of cute little veggies on a deep purple background. You can see just a hint of the blue that it has been backed in.

This is my favourite block, primarily because of the yellow border fabric.

And here's a pic of mom under the trees at Jane's cottage just after she finished putting it together. The photo is a scan so the quality is not the best but I wanted to show you mom with her handiwork. It's all sewn by hand and she spent many lovely, lazy afternoons stitching by the lake.

My sister Frances inherited this quilt top after mom passed away and she has just had it machine quilted so it will now start getting used. I have promised to bind it for her so I'd better get busy and deliver. It's been in a pile for five years now so it's time.

Jane has made the same pattern in reds, I believe, so I hope to have photos of hers to share with you soon - maybe even for the next post - and you can see yet another interpretation of the same pattern....M

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Quilt Canada Memories

Quilt Canada came to a close in Halifax last week and it reminded me of a road trip that six of us took to Toronto in 2000 when it was held at York University. It was a great adventure with lots of wonderful work to admire. I particularly remember the precision of the miniature quilts - they were true works of art.

It was at this show that Betty fell in love with a fabric collection - I'm not even sure who it was by, maybe Moda. She debated long and hard because she had a young family and wasn't sure that she could splurge on fabric, but eventually she was convinced so she went and bought it. She wasn't sure what pattern she was going to make but the longer she thought the more she realized that she needed a second bundle of fabric, so back she went. All told, she went back three times to the booth for fabric to be certain that she had enough.

The Mary Englebright quilt
And this was the result of her efforts. Isn't it beautiful?

Mom made the same pattern but had gone totally scrappy with lots of bright, primary prints and a different border. They found the pattern in a print quilt mag of one sort or another and for some reason I think this was one by Mary Englebright.

It is all stitched by hand and also hand quilted.

And it is fast becoming everyone's favourite!

Mom's has just come back from the quilter so I'll share that with you next time. It is amazing how different the same pattern looks so different depending on the colour palette....M

Saturday, June 02, 2012

It's Baaack!

It's been well over a month now that my machine was in the shop but its back home now, and, while I have been enjoying my hand stitching, it will be nice to tackle a few projects that I've been wanting to do. One small glitch - the knob that drops the feed dogs was stuck and was not fixed so I was a bit bummed out because I've been wanting to try my hand at free motion quilting on a small project or two. I was prepared to live with it as is though because I didn't want to put things on hold any longer when I had a brain wave. I got out the WD-40, spritzed it a few times, waited a bit, and ta da...we're in business. Gotta say I'm pretty pleased with myself on that one!

Anyway, I've been cutting more blocks for my Flying Geese quilt so that's what I sat down to. My machine is purring like a kitten now so I cruised through several dozen geese in fairly short order (that almost doesn't sound right), and now that I have the swing of things with the Lazy Girl ruler I'm quite enjoying the process.

I still have more trimming to do, but the piles are adding up, which made me pretty happy. Then I made the mistake of looking at the instructions and realized that I need at least 920 geese, 460 in each colour, so I'll be at this for a little while yet!

Recently I found a few more fat quarters to add to the mix - sooo lovely. I might need one or two more greens but I'll cut what I have for now and see where I end up.

I managed to find 4.5 yards of the backing that I want to use in an online shop but it's not going to be quite enough for a queen sized quilt so I need to do some thinking about how to piece the back - me thinks that I'll be making more than 920 geese. This is showing up a bit duller than it really is, probably because the photo was taken in the bat cave, aka my sewing room....M