Monday, July 30, 2012

Evie's Quilt

Time to show off the handwork that Linda and Jane (our lady by the lake) are up to these days. Jane's sister Linda will be a grandmother for the second time this fall so they are busy making a quilt for Evie, who is the first grandchild, when she moves into her own bed after the baby is born.

Panels for Evie's quilt
Evie has been canvassed for her choice of colours and, I must say, has great taste for a three year old. None of that pink girlie stuff for her - lots of blues and greens with a few shots of yellow and orange thrown in for good measure. It is a really beautiful, bright palette and fabulous prints.

We were together for a few days in June and they had all the blocks cut and were busy whipping up the strips that run the length of the quilt. At the rate they were going I suspect that all of the strips are now together.

Here's Linda hard at work in the shade of the trees.

I'm not sure what the pattern is called but it has these great strings with penants/small flags that run between a few rows of blocks. It will be constructed so that the tips of the flags fly freely. Isn't it adorable? Makes you want to be three again, doesn't it?...M

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Star Power

I've had a fondness for star blocks longer than I can remember so when I saw this post on Amitie's blog about the Somaly Mam Foundation and the star blocks needed to create a quilt for auction it just seemed like there was a little something that I could do to help out.

So down I went into my sewing cave and played around for a bit, emerging a few hours later with two blocks to show for my time. Time to get them into the mail - they need to be in Australia by September 8.

A few have already started coming in...

I had intended just to put one together, but then mistakenly cut more pieces than I needed, so I took it as a sign to make two.

They are 9" finished and in pinks, reds and/or oranges with white backgrounds. I found a few leftover blocks from my Irish Chain quilt so I cut those down to size for the white; the whites at the centre of the top block are winter white leftovers from Martha's Star, and then used a collection of mostly reds and oranges for the remaining pieces.

I'm really loving this combination.

The Foundation is a nonprofit organization co-founded by sexual slavery survivor, Somaly Mam. It works to eradicate human trafficking, liberate its victims, and empower survivors so they can create and sustain lives of dignity. It supports survivor rescue, shelter, and rehabilitation programs in Southeast Asia, where the trafficking of women and girls, some as young as five, is widespread. Given the freedom that we enjoy here in Canada I find it incomprehensible that those liberties are not universal.

If you are interested in making one for the cause all of the details and the mailing address are on Amitie's blog.

If not me, who? If not now, when?...M

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Almost Forgot...

Floral Fantasy

Last time I told you about our weekend in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, but I forgot the most important part -- I got a wonderful new book on applique (I know, I don't appliqué yet but I'm thinking that this might just help push me over the edge).

One of our first stops when we land in Niagara is a trip to the Old Niagara Book Shop and this time I found Beautiful Botanicals by Deborah Kemball. I'd stumbled across her work online several months back and was just in awe of her talents so when I saw the book it took about two seconds to figure out that it was coming home with me.

I thought that she was Canadian but it turns out she moved from the UK to Montreal in 2005. Her family seems to travel extensively with her husband's work but it doesn't stop her from creating amazingly beautiful works - not a bad feat for someone who is self taught.

Spring Revival

The book is a treasure trove of spectacular appliqué flowers and designs. When I first saw her work it was because she had made these AMAZING pillows for her sofa - some in a cream background and others on aqua. I couldn't take my eyes off them. Normally I save photos like that for future reference but not that time, and now the closest I can come to finding one is her profile photo on her home page. Take a good look at the pillows that are surrounding her. To die for.

There are several smaller pillows as projects that make it easy to try your hand at different blossoms...
...and from a quick glance at her instructions they seem really easy to follow, so maybe there will be an attempt made sooner rather than later. I found this link that will give you more details on the book while I was searching for images of the pillows so you might like to spend some time on.

Since writing this book I think she has started using a lot of rich Oakshott cottons and silk, but the principles seem to stay the same. What I find intriguing is how different the same patterns look on different backgrounds. There really aren't enough hours in the day, are there??!...M

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


HOT! HOT! HOT! seems to be the lament of the summer so far, I suspect primarily because we have seen so little rain, and this past weekend was no exception. Despite that we had plans to head to beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake to soak up a little history and culture for a few days so off we went. Despite the heat the foliage in town was spectacular, as always, and the crowds were huge.

This year Canada is celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and Niagara-on-the-Lake had a significant role in shaping Canada as we know it today. Throughout the year they are hosting lots of special events and this past weekend that included tall ships, lots of military re-enactments and a spectacular performance in St James' Anglican Church by the Trinity College Cambridge choir from England. It was incredibly hot throughout our stay but that didn't really seem to bother anyone - they were so excited to be part of the festivities. For the life of me I don't know how the re-enactors did it - the men in particular - because much of what they were wearing was WOOL!!!

Watching the five or six fully manned tall ships sail across Lake Ontario and engage in a mock shore battle was incredibly impressive and something that we have not seen before, so we were tickled and I thought you might enjoy seeing a photo or two.

There were also battle re-enactments at Fort George...the British won :) . There's talk about going back mid October for the Battle of Queenston Heights, but we'll see.

After two days of running around in the heat we were looking for a bit of respite so we found our books and my quilting and put our feet up in the shade of a lovely gazebo at our B&B for a few hours in the early evening.

I've been plugging away at my pinwheels so I got a few more of those done, which was nice because I often drag my quilting along and it doesn't get touched. Many of my quilts have lots of miles on them before they are finished!

I think I now have about 30 made up so I'll  start stringing them together and adding to my borders. Jane thought that they were quite large when she saw the photos in a past post but they are only about 4" square.

Still really lovin' how bright and cheery they are...M

Thursday, July 12, 2012

72 And Counting...

I managed to finish up the four hexagons that I had started over the weekend and add two more to the bunch, which meant six more to add to my block total taking it to 72.

And then the temptation to lay a few out on the table in the evening sun to see what they'd look like together became just too much. These are the most recent six blocks.

Not having looked at my blocks for a while it was fun to weed through the pile for a selection that I liked. I can see where there will be lots of moving around before the final placement is decided.

But I'm liking what I see so far. Interestingly, seeing them down beside each other has made me realize that I need to incorporate more large & obvious patterns/prints to really bring the pattern to life.

That won't be a problem - I have lots of fabric to work with, it just means that there's more fussy cutting in my future! I think I also need to incorporate more fussy cuts into the outside ring of fabric in the block to keep it interesting and add more depth....M

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Back To The Candy Jar

We were in the car for a bit on the weekend so I picked up my Candied Hexagon piecing and have a few blocks/partial blocks to share with you.

I think that I have mentioned before how tedious the fussy cutting can be but there is a real payoff when the pieces come together - especially with these florals. You get such lovely, airy wreaths. It will be fun to see them all come together.

This is the only block that is fully together but I thought I'd show you the colour combos anyway.

Some wreaths are really defined...

and others are much softer, but the wreath is still there. As much as you imagine it in your head the final result is always so much nicer.

None of theese have been pressed yet, but they are coming together.

I just adore this blue fabric but have only a little bit of it, but that's what makes each quilt special, isn't it? Time to start inserting the border diamonds on these blocks...M

Friday, July 06, 2012

Our Lady By The Lake

Jane's Basket
Our friend Jane inherited their family cottage years ago and since then, thanks to her generous invitations, we have enjoyed many, many happy and relaxing times there, including so many great Canada Day celebrations. It is about a 45-minute drive from here and a real refuge for her from her life in Ottawa. She just started a couple of weeks' holidays so on Tuesday we spent the day together, trimming lots of trees and shrubs in the morning and then settling in for some serious stitching and crafting in the afternoon and into the evening.

She has been talking about making a basket quilt for some time now but I didn't realize that she is already well on her way. This one is made with a lot of old shirts from our friend Martin, who has great taste, so she has some wonderful fabrics to work with. The blocks are quite large - maybe 16 - 18" and she will butt them up against each other without sashing between them.

And she is using lots of great trims to embellish, along with filling her baskets with yo-yo flowers. She's toying with sewing a button in the centre of each yo-yo - not sure yet. And there will also be a few leaves appliqued in among the flowers as well.

With the yo-yos she has been able to incorporate lots of different prints and we got a good laugh out of a red that has skull and crossbones on it - not something that you would normally associate with dainty little yo-yos. The beauty of it is that when all the shirring is done you just see the overall red, white and black - no skulls are apparent!

To this point I am a yo-yo virgin (I've never tried my hand at making one) so she gave me a quick tutorial. I think I need a little more practice because my centres were bigger than I think they should have been, however it wasn't bad for a first try.

She's also making a second quilt from repurposed fabrics that I quite like as well - one that she's calling Summer Picnic. This one is being sewn by hand too. It is amazing how many quilts she whips up while sitting on the deck enjoying the summer sun!

This one has more of Martin's old striped and plaid shirts (and a really beautiful, subtle green paisley print) combined with vintage floral pillowcases that she has been collecting. The overall effect is both bright and soothing at the same time.

While I worked on my blue pinwheels she pulled what she had left of her fabrics from the closet and cut them into blocks, so when she runs out of blocks that's how large the quilt will be. I just love the fabric combos and think that Summer Picnic is the perfect name....M

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

One  hundred and forty five - that's how old we are today. It is a beautiful sunny day and just the right temperature - perfect for a birthday party. Happy Canada Day, everyone!

It also seemed like the perfect time to add a few more geese to the pile so in keeping with the colours of the day I now have 66 more red ones to add to the mix.

More Flying Geese
And, as usual, I had to lay a few out to see what a new string of them might look like.

But I still have lots of corners to snip so I think it might be time to put the kettle on and enjoy a little patriotic-looking strawberry cheesecake. Life is good....M