Monday, October 28, 2013

Baskets Are Beckoning...

There is a basket quilt or two in my future - just not sure yet what style, or when. I love the traditional basket patterns for their graphic simplicity but the tiny little ones appeal to me so much, as do the more funky/strippy ones. I've started a board on Pinterest to collect ideas but have had a picture of this one pinned to the back of a chair in my sewing rooms for several months now and noticed how it has so many features that appeal to me, all in the same place.

It's a print from an old quilting calendar and is a great combination of structure and play. I think I need my eyes checked again, but, fuzzy as it is, this lets you see the whole thing.

Where do I begin? Love the funky little baskets, the pieced block backgrounds, the sashing blocks on point, the colours, the soft floral border, the hexies surrounding the centre panel of basket blocks, and then some fun appliqué around the edge. I'm thinking that the little border blocks on point would also be nice done in a 4-patch.

I don't know what the pattern name is but given the style I'm thinking that the designer is Japanese - it has a very Yoko Saito feel to it but somehow I don't think it's one of hers.

There are lots of little details to keep you interested and looking at it for a good long while. I'm not sure that I would do the fence but really do like the centre panel, and figuring how to incorporate a few interesting appliqué features could be fun.

And look at the quilting! OMG!!! So perfect, and so dense. Just love it....M

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dutch Treat

My sister Frances has resurrected a project that she started when she was 12 (she just celebrated her 50th birthday this spring and figured it was time to put this one to bed, so to speak). It's a pattern called The Little Dutch Girl. Actually, Anne made this one around the same time, but hers has been in use for several years now :).

With some help from mom - and she concedes a fair bit of help from mom - she appliquéd 12 blocks and now she's trying to figure out how to put it together.

She and Betty tossed around ideas to make the layout more contemporary and have found a second pieced block for the alternate blocks (the brown check is the carpet). Truth be told, this has never been one of my favourite patterns but I think that this is a brilliant idea.

This is the block that she has decided on (Pinterest comes through again!). Isn't it beautiful? She's doing it in hot, bright colours - pinks, blues, purples, greens - and a variety of white-on-white fabrics. The blocks are about 12" square so the pieces will be small, and the overall effect incredible. That little Dutch Girl won't know what hit her!....M

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Jane's Adventure Into Quilting

My sisters and I grew up in a house surrounded by quilts and by mom and aunts and family friends always stitching and quilting around us, so I never think of myself as starting to make quilts at a certain age, I just think of myself as always having been a quilter. Our first efforts were by machine but we eventually moved to doing more and more of them by hand because it is so relaxing and portable. Jane, on the other hand, didn't come into the quilting world until the early 1990s

She had sewn for years and we had tried to convince her to make a quilt but she was convinced that she couldn't do it. Famous last words. Once she started there was no turning back - she became a quilting queen! She thinks that she has made about 20 full-sized quilts since then, about one a year, and they are hand pieced.

This is her first quilt, Tea Party, with 37 pieces to a block. Betty took it home from the cottage to freshen it up earlier this summer and decided to snap a few photos while it was on the line. It looks like a bit of a sampler but it's really only one block done in different colours.

Like most of us, she looks at it and says she would never pick these fabrics now, but it's still very pretty and gets lots of use. The rich fuchsia print that she used for the sashing is roses bunched up against each other - love it.

Not a bad start to a life of addiction, is it?....M

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Pumpkins, With a Little Pie On The Side

Things have been moving along in the pumpkin patch.

There are now 3 pumpkin pot holders quilted and ready for binding; I think I'll make a few more and then bind them all at once.

The quilting is simple diagonal lines but I had fun learning how to use the quilting guide on my new machine - it's the little metal arm to the right of the presser foot that fits into the back of my walking foot.

And marking is now a whole lot easier too. I scored the first line of stitching with my hera marker - a small hand tool about the length of a pen with a sharp edge that allows you to make temporary crease marks on fabric (if you look closely you can see a faint diagonal line running through the gingham piece). I set the guide to stitch in 1-inch widths and I was off to the races because I only had to mark the first line and relied on the stitching guide to help out with the placement of all of the other stitching lines . Between the marker and the guide, can you say 'bye 'bye to marking with chalk or markers? LUV it!

Remember this little guy? I did add a row of ric rac but he looked a little lonely on the block compare to the larger one so I made another large pumpkin for the other side, so this one is double-sided.

To have a little insulated protection in each pot holder I added two layers of filling - the bottom piece is the thin fabric that an ironing board is covered in, and then I added a piece of batting remnant to get a bit of puff when it was quilted.

For a bit of punch to this one I made the backing orange and quite like it. Cheery little things, aren't they?

We had a birthday celebration on the weekend so I made a few pumpkin pies too. De-lish. I always make the recipe from the canned pumpkin that has been on the E.D. Smith cans for years - much better than the pre-mixed filling. I've been using this recipe for years - so long that they've changed the label on the can from what you see here.

They are the Official Cookie Taster's favourite so he was a pretty happy guy....M

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Two Types of Sweet

I really should plan to go away more often in the fall because knowing that I won't be here for a few weeks has got me on a commando mission to get as much done for the Holly Bazaar as possible before I go. I'm into full swing on heart production.

There are now 17 finished, so hopefully all 24 will be done by early next week. They really are sweet and the more I do the faster they go, which is a good thing.

I will bake for the sweet table just before the bazaar but, since plums are in season I thought it might be nice to make up a few jars of chutney as well. This is a fantastic recipe and I haven't made it for a couple of years so once I thought of it I just had to make some because the thought of it just makes my mouth water.

The recipe is one that Jane found in Gourmet. It has notes of fresh ginger, lime and allspice and really goes together quite quickly. It's also a relatively small batch (four 8-oz jars - I got a few more because I used smaller jars) so if you make it you don't have it hanging around in the pantry forever.

I made one batch for the church and one for me. It is fantastic with pork and we happened to be having a roast this week so I managed so set enough aside for dinner. Might as well get them all parcelled up right away so it's one less thing to do the day before (which is the deadline that I am famous for)....M