Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Caved

I guess it was just a matter of time because I've been dancing around this one for a while now, and I've finally caved.

















After taking pics for my last post I started digging in the cubicle where I had been keeping all the fabrics for Danuta's Garden when I was ready to pick it up. Most of my fabrics are stored by colour but this cubby has been collecting florals specifically for this quilt.












A little baggie of scraps revealed a treasure trove of 1 3/8" blocks for the sashing, but even better than that, 30 4-square blocks already assembled. I know that a few of them were remnants from the last quilt because they were machine stitched, but there were many more that were hand stitched (when I did these I have no idea), so it's not really starting a new quilt at all, is it? Just picking up one that was already in the works :).

Of course once I got into the bag I just had to sit and stitch a few more, so 30 is now 40. I need about 350, but hey, a start is a start....M

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gardening


Jane's cottage is a comfy little haven, perfect for relaxing and stitching, and sometimes a little gardening (with needle and thread).
















And gardening she has been doing, making great progress on Danuta's Garden, stringing together happy little sashing strips.















Most of the 9-patch and star blocks are made so she's busy making tiny 4-patches and joining them together. She has a beautiful little tin of gorgeous pieced bits that she's working with.
Linda has decided that she needs to make this one too and has chosen another beautiful palette of fabrics - dreamy blues & pinks & creams. Just LUUUUUV that blue on top.














She set to work cutting some squares for her 4-patches...
















and it didn't take long before she had needle and thread working their magic.











She's been encouraging me to pick mine up and work on it (she'd like to see the three versions at the same time) but I'm still resisting in the hopes of finishing off one or two others that I'm working on.

These scraps from the one I made with mom are taped to my sewing room door are the closest that I've come to working on it; maybe now that my Postage Stamp is so close to being finished I will start this one....M

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chillin'

She really had no intention of starting a new quilt, but a quick stop at Stedman's before we landed at the cottage resulted in a new bag of fabrics and, within an hour of landing, Anne was washing and ironing fabrics so that she could start cutting (notice all of the essentials - ruler, sewing machine, jelly beans and beer...).












No hand sewing for this one - she was off to the races making HST blocks four at a time. She wants a lap quilt for her sun room and this is it, a mix of beautiful blues and aquas with a little green thrown in for good measure.













It's a nice crisp combination, and at the rate that she's going it will be done in no time.












Linda has been working on a few Christmas stockings and brought them to show us.
















It's the same pattern for all of them but all are very different, and very beautiful. This one had lovely lace embellishments.















Just love this bird fabric and the swirling quilting pattern; she's just trying to sort out what the binding will be for this one. Yes, it's July, but the big guy will be here again before we know it so it's a good idea to get some of these projects started now....M

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Night Mail

I headed to Jane's cottage for the weekend based on a weather forecast that was hot and sunny, but much of it ended up wet and rainy. Not to worry - that meant lots of time to sit and work on my Postage Stamp (remember the ripping needed?). It also gave me a chance to get caught up with some of Jane's projects. She has sewn the first strip of the Plaid HST quilt (needs a new name, Jane) that she's working on for her nephew and it continues to be gorgeous.











The necessary ripping out happened on my quilt and then I worked at adding the correct string of blocks.















That went well so it was on to the next row.

Jane noted that it was going to be a huge quilt and I couldn't help but agree. Once the last 4 or 5 rows of blocks were added it would be two thirds complete and it was already a good size. When I got home I thought I'd measure it; already it is about 70 x 100" - certainly no need to make it longer, but adding another 35 inches of width didn't seem to make any sense either.






Time to shift gears. What about making it asymmetrical and adding a column of large, Wonky Stars to one side?















I've been wanting to try this since I saw a similar idea at Blue Elephant Stitches. I figured out how to make a Wonky Star and then was off to the races. Fun!

The blocks will finish at 12" and there will be about 7 of them. Now just to figure out if I take any blocks off the end to make it a little shorter. All in all, this one is headed for the finish line and much, much earlier than I had ever anticipated.....M










Friday, July 18, 2014

A Minnie Break

When I was digging for prints to finish off the appliquĂ© blossom on mom's Dresden Plate I dug through the bag with hundreds of 2" squares that I am using to make my Postage Stamp. I pulled it out thinking that I would switch up some of my hand stitching from Minnie and move this one along a little bit.












I need to finish off one row with 5 blocks to get a straight edge along the bottom of the panel that is sewn so far, so I started there (just below the left side of the area that I've highlighted in yellow). It would have helped if I had looked at the sketch a little closer. I made, and attached, 5 blocks (25 squares in each block) but, after I got it sewn on, I realized that every second block should have had a V of pink/orange squares in it. That's why there are patterns, right? So that we read them, right? Right. Arrrrrgh!



So it's back to the drawing board. All the blocks that I need are now stitched but I haven't yet been able to bring myself to rip out the first set that I did. Soon.

Every time I lay this one out I think I should have done a better job of placing the colours so that the plum and pink squares weaving through the border stand out a little more, but then I catch it from another angle and I think it will be fine. It's a traditional Postage Stamp and made from a zillion scraps so I will content myself with knowing that the pattern is there, even if it is subtle....M

Monday, July 14, 2014

She Beat Me To It

Remember a while back I was musing about starting a pattern that in our circle we call Danuta's Garden? Well, Jane had been thinking the same thing and she's off and running with it.















I have been trying very hard not to follow her lead because there are a few other projects I'd like to finish up, but it's getting harder and harder now that I've seen hers.














She made one of these several years ago, just after we made Danuta's, and likes it so much she's into another. The first one had a predominantly green sashing and this one will have a lovely cream with a swirling yellow pattern.













Oh, and fabulous Kaffe  Fassett fabrics. Lots and lots of Kaffe. Makes you weak at the knees. The mauve in the top block of this photo is a real beauty.














She has started hand sewing her blocks, both stars and 9-patches, and each one seems more beautiful than the last.















I saw this a couple of weeks ago when I was out to the cottage and can only imagine how far along she is with it now. She's speedy at the best of times, but has just come off two weeks of vacation so I'm half expecting to hear that it's all finished :). Not sure how much longer I can practice resolve....M

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Taking a Break from Strips

I'm making good progress on the Sea Glass blocks but needed to play with something other than blue and grey strips for a bit, so I picked up a few of the larger remnant HSTs from Hugs 'n Kisses and made this star.















I'm not sure what the pattern name is but I've seen it a few times lately and thought I'd give it a try. Don't look too closely as the joins are not the best - I should have trimmed all the blocks to the same size before sewing but was too impatient to see it come together. Next one...











It will be 11.5" finished, so considerably larger than the other little blocks that I've been playing with, but works well with the little Churn Dash blocks....M

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Slow Stitching and Quiet Visitors

It's been a beautiful weekend weather-wise so today included a bit of time quietly stitching on the deck.

















More Minnie blocks...

















Many in the neighbourhood are away for the weekend so it's very quiet, which could explain why these lovelies have been visiting.















Two beautiful reasons why my hostas along the back lot line don't seem to amount to much - actually, there are three (two fawns) but I've only been able to snap one at a time. They are cute to watch scampering across the back lawn and don't seem that bothered by the fact that I'm sitting on the deck. Not a bad price to pay for a few mangled hostas, I guess...M

Friday, July 04, 2014

The Green Monster

My sewing machine has gone green lately, and I don't mean from an environmental perspective. I hadn't counted on the ink transfer from the new phone book pages that I am using for the foundation piece,s but they were really making a mess of my sewing surface, so I cleaned it up and did a quick fix job with my trusty painter tape to protect it. If nothing else, this will keep me focused on finishing the blocks quickly to avoid any residue from the tape. I keep checking, and so far, so good. Poor thing - looks a little beat up, doesn't it?









This quilt is to be used as a sofa throw so it won't be as large as some. I've cut 32 more foundations and I'm thinking that might do it. If I do 5-6 a day I could be done in a week. Did 7 the other day so that's a good start.













I'm still playing with layout options too. I'm wondering about a herringbone pattern....guess I should lay all of the options side by side and see who wins.....M

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Another Rhubarb Recipe to Love

Happy Canada Day, everyone - 147 and  counting! It started out rather dull and gloomy and changed to thunderstorms early in the day so a day outdoors was not to be. That gave me the perfect opportunity to try a new rhubarb recipe, and it is fabulous.














Remember this beautiful cookbook (Butter) that I got from Stephanie for Christmas? Well, it has been on my bedside table for a couple of weeks now; I curl up with it at the end of the day and pore over the recipes (is that sick?). Nightly I would change my mind as to what had to be made first, but the recent heat spell has quashed thoughts of heating up the kitchen.









Today I threw caution to the wind and decided it was time to try the Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie. My, my, my... this is a delight and definitely on the 'make again' list.

It was still slightly warm after sitting on the counter for a few hours and everything about it was yummy - crunchy cinnamon topping, creamy custard filling, just enough rhubarb and flaky pastry.







I had fresh pastry and a jar of homemade mincemeat that I'd gotten from Bunny, one of the gals who is part of the quilting crew from the church, so I also made a couple dozen mince tarts. I know it's not the season for them but it just seemed like a good idea. Bunny can't be 5 feet tall, is 85 if she's a day, and is very much a going concern. She gave me this jar when I picked up my quilt a while back and I wanted to make sure that it got used. Delicious.







Before any of the baking started I had been playing with my Sea Glass blocks.















I've got 48 made now and wanted to see them all together.
















I switched up the layout a little bit so it's more a zigzag than radiating white diamonds and I think I prefer it this way. It also gives me a little more leeway in terms of how wide & long I make it - the first layout meant that I was always adding 2 blocks if I wanted it wider or longer. What do you think? Do you have a preference?....M