Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The South Shore Quilt

My sister Dori and her husband Rob spend lots of their vacation time in the Maritimes, specifically Nova Scotia, and over the last two summers she has worked on this beauty of a quilt, which she appropriately named The South Shore Quilt.

She started the blocks years ago with the intent of making some baby quilts for a local shelter. After sitting on the blocks for a few years she realized that she had enough to make a full sized quilt.

That gorgeous sashing fabric is Twilight Peony from Amy Butler and she found it in Atlantic Fabrics in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. She remembers the sales clerk looking at her as though maybe she was losing it when she asked her opinion about using it, but she bought it anyway and I think it works beautifully (totally love that fabric!). So, with a little art direction from Benny, she laid it out last summer and put it together last winter in Toronto.

Don't you just love those ears??!

She arranged to have it machine quilted by Lynn Jones when they were out east again this Spring and it is now happily being used on their bed. It's oversized, so apparently no need to fight for the blankets. She needed more of the peony print to bind it with and, as luck would have it, there was still some on the shelf when she went back this Spring.

The back is pieced as well and I think a great complement to the blocks on the front. She has beautiful peonies in her garden so it was nice to be able to get a few pics of it while they were in season. Word is that Benny is still very fond of it. :).....M

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It's Coming Together

Shortly after I showed you my progress on Country Charmer a few posts ago I finished putting all of the sashing and blocks together, so it's really starting to look like a quilt top.

I laid it out on the bed to see everything together, but also to get a sense of how deep I need to make my borders. I'm still lovin' it!

When I was chatting with Dori about it on the weekend I got to thinking that maybe I should have it quilted and then make that into a duvet cover; need to think on that one some more.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... Even though the holidays are still a few months away I've kept it draped over a chair in our bedroom until I get back to it just so that I can enjoy it. The Official Cookie Tester likes it too.

And this is why I haven't yet begun the borders for it. I'm continuing to madly sew nine patch blocks together for my Nantucket border with an eye on the end of the month. It's more than half done and if I had a good block of time that I could sit down at it things would speed along, but I'll take the progress so far.

I'm sewing the border together in sections so that I'm not playing with a huge long piece all the time and I'll eventually join them all. My design wall is a little short for a full quilt so I've just turned under the top pieces, but you get the idea....M

Friday, September 18, 2015

I've Been Holding Out On You

There's not much point in taking photos to share if you don't share them, is there? I've been so Christmas obsessed lately that I totally forgot about wanting to show you Betty's Fruit Salad.

On the Labour Day weekend she had it off the frames and out at the cottage to show us. What. A. Beauty!

It's not bound yet, but it she did manage to snuggle under it on the hammock for a delightful nap. I think it passed the test.

Totally hand pieced and hand quilted, it is a work of art. She has used colour placement perfectly and you just want to keep exploring all of the different fabrics in it.

This is one of the corners - she's done them all in blue and it's a great combination with that fabulous red print that she used for the border.

She worked with the floral design when laying down her quilting pattern in the border. It's almost like a kantha quilt -  intricately stitched with a little boho-leaning feel to it.

I could have taken tons more photos of it - you get totally drawn in by it. I did mean to get a photo with this one together with Jane's version that I showed you a few weeks ago so that you could see them side by side. I'll do that once this one is bound, and I'll also get a full view of it for you. In the meantime, enjoy this riot of colour....M

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Nine Patch Boot Camp

Lately its been all nine patches all the time as I work to getting all of the blocks together for my Nantucket border. I guess it was inevitable - that feeling like my shoulder blades were being fused together - because I seem to be spending every spare minute glued to my sewing machine.

To break things up a bit I sewed the remaining four star blocks, so I can scratch all of the stars off of my list.

After a while I think I might have been getting delirious - it almost seemed that the fabric was trying to send me messages...

When I really needed a break I went upstairs and baked a German Apple Cake. I wanted something with either apples or pumpkin and this one looked appealing so I gave it a shot. It's wonderful. With so much apple in it the taste and consistency is even better a day or two on - nice and moist - and its been ages since I've made anything with a cream cheese icing, so this really hit the mark.

Maybe it was the sugar hit that I needed to get me to the finish line, I don't know, but get me there it did. All nine patches are done! Look at all those pretty pink highlights. Love it. I think that there might even be four extra.

Funny, it looks like more on the chart than in the piles. Now to make them into a border....M

Sunday, September 13, 2015

About That 'Crazy Lady' Thing...

I'm realizing that The Official Cookie Tester might have been on to something when he decided I was moving closer to crazy lady status after deciding to make Nantucket in time for Christmas. Everything would have been fine if I was prepared to make the pattern as printed, but nooooo, I needed to make it larger.

The 12-inch blocks seemed huge to me because I seldom work with a block that large. Well, I did a little math, and, even with adding a row of stars the quilt was still going to be on the small side. I want it for the spare room which has a double bed, and I want enough to drape down the sides so you aren't fighting for blankets in the middle of the night.

Soooo, I realized that it had to be even larger. Adding eight more stars for a total of 20 seems like the easiest option, but easy doesn't appear to be in my DNA these days. I've decided to add three more rings of 9-patches all round so the border will be six blocks deep instead of three. That means closer to 175 9-patch blocks instead of 110. You can see where the crazy part is starting...

I drew it out to see if it was too much but I like the proportions. Then, just for fun, I highlighted in pink how many 9-patches I have sewn so far. Yikes! I've got my work cut out for me.

On the up side, I can now track how many more to do and the chart provides some good motivation, just not sure that it's going to be enough to get me to my September deadline. Maybe if I quit my day job....M

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Fond Farewell

It's done. After years of happy time together (almost eight years to the day that we bought the fabric) I said goodbye to Confetti and passed it on to it's rightful owner, Stephanie, but with mixed feelings. It's sort of like getting to the end of a good book that you would rather not end. Maybe that's why it's taken me so long to wrap it up.

This one is a real milestone for me - it's totally hand stitched and hand quilted, the first and only of my quilts that I can say that about. Usually the quilting gets done by the ladies at the church or, in the past, by mom.

I just love the fabrics in this one and never tired looking at the different combinations.

And I found a great fabric for binding. It's just a tad darker than the background fabric, almost like a latte, and it works beautifully without taking away from the other colours.

Here's a full view. It's a simple block - the fabrics really make it. The photo that I worked from initially is long gone but the colours were much stronger, even more scrappy and very 1970s, a very different feel than this.

Stephanie has recently retired. She's an early bird by nature but maybe this will provide some incentive to hit the 'snooze' button and roll over for a few extra minutes the odd morning....M

Monday, September 07, 2015

If One, Why Not Two?

I'm not sure if Pinterest is a blessing or a curse but trolling around on it got me thinking. That, and one lonely extra sashing strip from Country Charmer. If I had one Christmas quilt finished could I make a second one for the guest bedroom and get them both (machine) quilted before Santa's big day?

Long before I knew the name of this quilt - Nantucket - I had printed a tiny black & white version of it which has been kicking around my sewing room for a few years now. I came across it again last week on Pinterest and couldn't help but think that maybe its time has come. A red and white quilt has long been on my wish list and I couldn't resist the siren call of all of those 3-inch 9-patches.

This is the strip that started it all.

With my aversion to square quilts I'm going to add another row of stars, for a total of 12, and that means about 110 scrappy nine-patches. The Ohio Star blocks finish off at 12 inches so they will go quickly and I think once I get into the swing of things with the 9-patches they will too - at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Doesn't look like much, but soon this will be a beautiful 9-patch border.

So now to finish two quilt tops by the end of September and get them off to Roberta. The Official Cookie Tester thinks I might be becoming a crazy lady, but it's Christmas, right?....M

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Hand Work

Summer is going out with a bang and we've been enjoying our last few visits to the beach to soak it all in. The water's starting to get a bit chilly because we've had a few cooler evenings, but it's always fun to go in for a refreshing late afternoon dip. Afterwards we sit, enjoy the view of the beautiful Ottawa River, and read, and I usually stitch.

Seeing quick progress on my Country Charmer has been wonderful but it's always a nice break to step away from the machine and pick up my hand stitching.

As an added bonus, we pass a quilt shop en route to the beach so the other night when I realized that I had left my needle at home an 'emergency' stop at the shop meant no down time :). With this being a long weekend, and a weather forecast that is hot and sunny, I am hoping that there will be a few more stars added to the pile soon.

This morning I've been experimenting with making my own granola. Betty gave me a delicious bag for my birthday that she had made and I stretched it out as long as I could - it was soooo good. I just love it on my fruit and yogurt. No oatmeal, just a combination of nuts, flax and sesame seeds, and coconut slow roasted with a bit of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup; afterwards I mixed in some dried cherries and candied ginger and orange peel. I'll have to see how close I've come to matching Betty's....M

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Let's Hear It For The Christmas Heat Wave!

It's been so hot lately that we've been looking for as many ways as possible to cool down. In the evenings I just head to the coolness of the basement to sew rather than outdoors to 'glisten' (we had an aunt that used to say, "Men perspire, horses sweat and ladies glisten").

And all that downstairs time has been great for my Country Charmer deadline. I was hoping to have all of my blocks together by the end of August, and I did it. Yaaaa! Let's hear it for the heat wave!

Whoa! What went wrong here?! This was one of the last blocks to be put together. Think that I was getting a tad anxious to reach the finish line? Despite ripping the odd little seam here and there this was the only mishap I had in 30 blocks, so that's not bad.

So I've chain-stitched the columns of blocks together, including the sashing blocks.

And now I'll start sewing across the rows. I am really liking it and anxious to see it all together rather than just the 'skeleton' that you get from the first phase. The weatherman is calling for another hot weekend so who knows, maybe I'll have a quilt top by the end of it!....M