Saturday, July 23, 2016

Changing Channels

We headed out on a short summer road trip earlier this week and I decided that taking Minnie along to work on in the car would be easier than trying to wrestle with Danuta's Garden, so I hurriedly cut enough hexies to do a ring around three four-diamond hexie pieces that were already together.

There were lots of good intentions but I spent so much time being navigator and taking in the sights that the pieces never left the bag. Yesterday, after everything was unpacked, I spent the afternoon working on the first one.

It's been ages since I've sewn on this one but it's like an old friend - very easy to reconnect with.

Our travels took us into Skaneateles in the Finger Lakes District of New York State. What a gorgeous area - we are already looking forward to a return visit or two.

It is set at the north end of the lake tucked in amid scenic rolling fields of corn and wheat and we thoroughly enjoyed boat a tour of the lake.

We did a day trip into Ithaca and enjoyed a stroll around the Cornell campus, a visit to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and lunch at the famed Moosewood Restaurant (we're not vegetarians, but when in Rome...). They are having a very dry summer so all the lawns are parched but I'm certain that it would be even nicer when everything is green.
And, (quel surprise!) there's even a quilt shop or two. Just before we rolled into Skaneateles we came across Patchwork Plus whose claim to fame is having 9,000 bolts to choose from. It is a beautiful shop - very organized and incredibly neat. I was totally overwhelmed so the only thing that came home with me was these three pieces.

I thought that it was quite cute how they tied it all up with a strip of batik....M

Monday, July 18, 2016

The First Half

I'm at that stage where a quilt goes from being pieces to feeling like the beginnings of a quilt. You know because the weight of the piece that you're working with has shifted and suddenly it's something more substantial than just a pile of blocks. There's the hint of what it will be when it is quilted and on a bed.

There were six rows of seven blocks.

Three rows are now joined with sashing so there's three more to add and then the star border.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Going Bananas

Well, the Candied Hexagons backing is together so I say that's reason to celebrate. Or bake. But first we'll look at the backing a bit.

It's nothing original - just four vertical strips in differing widths. My only criteria was that the pink be along the sides so that it would carry over into setting triangles that are in the same colour, so I split a width of fabric, added a narrow strip of green and a width of the dark rose. There is enough of the light pink left to bind it with so I'm happy about that.

I'm going to hand quilt it but wasn't keen on rolling around on the floor to baste it - it's tough on the knees. I contacted Roberta to see if she could baste it on the longarm and she is happy to oblige. This one is HUGE: 90 x 107"!!! WHAT was I thinking??? Can you say king sized?

Then it was time to bake. I've been surrounded by ripe bananas lately, lots of them, so I made a Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf. Then I made a Banana Pecan Loaf and froze it. Still bananas hanging around. I've never baked bananas into a cookie before but found this great recipe for Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips so I gave them a go.

I also broke in my new mini cookie spatula that Jane gave me for my birthday and it works like a charm.

Butter is my fat of choice when baking but I decided to follow the recipe exactly, so I used shortening. I also used only one cup of chocolate chips and it was plenty. The cinnamon and nutmeg are a nice addition and the banana will keep them nice and moist.

The Official Cookie Tester swung into action and declared them a hit. I seconded the motion by having two of them fresh from the oven....M

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Candied Hexagon Top Is Finished

My Candied Hexagons got laid to the side recently but I picked it up again on the weekend and finished inserting the pink set-in triangles along the sides. Love it.

That pink Art Gallery fabric is just yummy and works really well with everything else.

I took it out to the garden for a little photo shoot...

and used it as an excuse to also take a pic of my beautiful roses. They are loving this hot summer that we are having, and only bloom every other year, so they are a wonderful treat.

There isn't enough of the pink for a backing so I'm going to have to piece one. Working with large pieces of fabric is my least favourite thing about quilting - just hate muscling everything around cause I don't have a large work surface. Much prefer working with smaller pieces. Oh well, it's not the end of the world....M

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday With Sue

Another birthday rolled around recently and Anne surprised me with a little gift à la folk artists Sue Spargo - a lovely book called Stitches to Savor. The pretty little bird was complements of Betty.

I love the creativity in the vast collection of Sue's detailed handwork patterns and stitches worked in wool and cotton, and her use of fun, bright colours.

How can you resist all of those teenie, tiny details?

New to me - and equally appealing - was her work in a neutral palette. Against that pebbled quilted background it reminds me of beach stones. Very soothing.

As the review says, 'for sumptuous texture and depth, nothing compares to the handwork quilts of Sue Spargo'.

It's a beautiful visual reference but I would also have been happy if it had included instructions for a few of the stitches. Regardless, today I'll be pouring through the pages imagining all of the projects that I will could make....M

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

A Little Pre Dinner Sewing

Benny continues to evolve in his quilting skills and insists on helping Dori out with her projects. The other night he found himself consulting on her latest hand sewing project. As Dori's friend Alison put it, "Benny has such a remarkable colour sense and a real nose for design!"

Together they are working on blocks for a quilt guild that is soliciting heart blocks for the victims who survived the Orlando shooting, and one for each of the families of the victims that died. Fittingly, there's one block for each colour of the rainbow in the works.

The pattern is the same sweet heart that she made for her Valentine earlier this year...M

Sunday, July 03, 2016

One. Two. Three. Four...

Until today, it's been a cool and rainy Canada Day weekend which has been a little disappointing for getting out and about to the festivities, but it's been great weather for hand stitching.

I'm sewing the rows for Danuta's Garden and have three together and the fourth on the way.

Things go quite quickly when you are sewing longer seams than always cutting threads for the tiny one and two-inch seams, and I'm loving how the tiny blocks in the sashing look against the nine patches.

With any luck at all I'll get through rows four and five  of six today. Regardless, it is a beautiful day and will be a nice finish to our long weekend.

There were lots of fresh cherries in the house so I thought I'd whip up a little sweet with them - you know, something red and white for Canada Day. Lucy Waverman's rustic Cherry Crostada with Cream Cheese Crust seemed like a good bet.

I was a tad short on the lime that I needed to mix in with the fruit and I think I gave the dough one too many spins in the food processor because it was a little tougher than I would have liked, but the Official Cookie Tester was more than happy with it, so I guess it turned out okay.

Ina Garten's crostada is still my favourite but it's early for both peaches and plums so this was a good second choice. If you like cherries, give it a try.

Happy belated Canada Day everyone!....M