Friday, September 28, 2012

On The Wing

Last weekend I decided that since the geese are starting to fly south (just in little bits so far, mind you) that it was time to spend some time with my Fly Away Home quilt, so I cut several more reds. As I sat down to sew I looked at the bowl that is sitting on the floor that holds the scrappy strips for this little triangle quilt, so I zigged a little and decided to make a few, just to get it out of my system.

I also wanted to play around with layouts so I tried this:

and this:

and finally a spiderweb:

I took photos so I could see the options beside each other to help me make up my mind but I'm not sure that I'm there yet.

 I like the spiderweb but somehow can't see myself doing it in Christmas prints. I also like the first layout but I think the alternating blocks need to be a richer colour - maybe a gold/ochre print so I'll see what I can find on that front. The second choice is nice too but do you think that it's too busy? Anyway, after making 4 more triangles I returned to the business at hand - flying geese.

Over the space of 2 days I made about 84 more, so the reds are well on their way. I think I'll cut more greens and see where I end up with those; a few more fat quarters might be needed to really make it scrappy but it's a tough green pallette to match so I might just have to work with what I have.

At any rate, they are coming together nicely an I think I'm soon going to be in a position to string together a full row.

This particular combo reminded me of dad's hankies. During the week he used the more casual red polka dot styles and for dress he always had a fresh white hanky. Amazing how your mind works, isn't it?...M

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Surprise

I love being able to surprise someone, I mean really surprise them, and today I got to do just that.

A few months ago my good friend Jean sent through an email asking if I had any quilts for sale - she has a very special niece getting married in October and was looking for a gift. I was at a bit of a loss at first because, while I have lots of quilt tops to be quilted, I hadn't really made any of them with the intention of letting them go. One thing lead to another and I eventually suggested that she might like the Neighbour's Fence quilts or, if I really got my act together, I could try and make a new one.

The long and the short of it is that she really liked the batiks and, after a few more notes back and forth decided to take BOTH of them! You could have blown me over with a feather. I was totally not expecting this. The only condition was that they would need to be machine quilted because at the rate I quilt her poor niece would be celebrating her 50th anniversary before she received her gift.

Linda S had mentioned a gal that she has used for machine quilting, and when Linda M seconded the motion I gave her a call. Her name is Roberta Krueger, her studio is called Cocoa and Quilts, and not only does she do fantastic work she was more than accommodating with my deadline.

The larger of the two has a red backing and the second is backed in a green batik. They are each quilted with a pantograph, but in different patterns. I really liked them before I had them quilted but I totally love them now.

They are both bound in the same green that is just a tad lighter than the green border and I think they turned out really nicely. For a while there I could have been crowned Queen of The Binding because it seemed like that was all that I was doing, but that's a good thing because to me it means that lots is getting finished off.

So today I had lunch with Jean and a few other friends that I've known of for years and arranged for the handoff. She thought that I was just going to have the wedding quilt ready but I had managed to get them both quilted and bound (aren't I the coy one?). I wanted to surprise her with two because the second one is an anniversary gift to Jean from her husband, so that deserves a little surprise, don't you think?

I'll miss them because they have been kicking around the sewing room for about 8 years now - crazy how the time flies - but it's nice to know that they are off to good homes. And I have more of the black & white stripe for the border trim so I've already started looking at new batiks...

Happy Anniversary, Jean!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More From 'Little Things'

Here's a few more shots of additional quilts from Sarah Fielke's Quilting From Little Things that I started out showing you last time and then got totally distracted. North by North East is on the back cover of my version of the book and the one that really caught my eye in the beginning (isn't that little guy in the bottom right just the cutest thing?).

It's made up of lots of bright & scrappy Flying Geese blocks and really appeals to me. I'm not keen on her layout so I think that I'd change it up a bit. The large corner blocks would make it go faster but aren't working for me.

Recently I saw an antique Flying Geese quilt with the rows stitched on the diagonal, much like the centre of this one, and I think I might opt for that instead. I am so tempted to start cutting for it but want to finish up a few more things first, so instead I sat down and spent much of the weekend cutting and sewing red, white and green geese for Fly Away Home, which helped get it out of my system a little bit (more about that next time).

Then there's Hanging Lanterns. What a beauty! Actually, the book is beautifully photographed which goes a long way to helping find new projects that you just have to make.

It is such a great combination of colours - love all the reds and the way that she has incorporated light blue/tuquoise into it as well. And then the quilting in red perle thread just sets it all off. It will involve appliqué, but that's okay.

And last, but not least there's Stars In Your Eyes. This one reminds me of the Candied Hexagons that I'm working on but it is strip pieced.

I think that it's the colours that I love as much as anything. So much wonderful inspiration from just one book!...M

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Birthday Surprises

Today is my sister Anne's birthday - happy birthday, Anne! She was up to the Valley on the weekend for meetings so we thought the timing was pretty good to surprise her with a birthday cake, candles and all. Jane was up at the cottage for the weekend too so she was able to join us in the celebrations.

I had lots of ripe bananas and was dying for a good piece of chocolate cake so I tried this recipe for Chocolate Banana Cake. Not only was the batter really lovely but the consistency of the cake is great and stays nice and moist because of the bananas; I also used buttermilk in it, which makes for a nice consistency. And the baking time was exactly as printed, which was nice. I iced it with a chocolate ganache and it was delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (you always need ice cream with birthday cake!). Despite four of us taking a good charge at it and pieces going home with both of the gals, the Official Cookie Tester and I have been nibbling away at the last of it for the better part of the week and it is still lovely. I'll be making this one again.

All of this reminded me of a book that I'd received for my birthday a while back that I'd been wanting to share with you - it's Sarah Fielke's Quilting From Little Things... I'd been intrigued by a scrappy Flying Geese quilt on one of the cover photos (there are actually 2 covers) but really fell for lots of what's inside...

and, as luck would have it, the one quilt in the book that doesn't have a pattern. I think the photo was taken in her sewing room and this is what she had on the design wall.

LUV it! It's going on the list.

It's the colours in it as much as anything.

There was a second shot of it used as a double page spread in the book that really shows it off nicely.

I was so focused on getting shots of this one that I completely forgot to take pics of the one that appealed to me initially so I'll share that next time...M

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Channelling Sue Spargo

I've been watching the updates come from Sue Spargo's blog as she works her way through Australia doing amazing folk art workshops with her sister, and loving the absolutely gorgeous embellishments that she and her students are creating. I've also been looking for new, small projects that I can whip up for the Holly Bazaar, (I think the ones I have been doing to date are more appropriate for the silent auction and I don't think that there will be one this year) so I guess it's no big surprise that the two thoughts have come together.

Little birds seemed like a good idea but they needed to be fairly fast to make and I wanted something a little graphic, rather than literal. So, a search landed me on the Pilgram blog and these sweet little birds that she made in December 2009. I liked the fact that they were three dimensional but they also seemed really open to interpretation, and, you know me, I can never do it exactly as presented so I started to play. The fact that she graciously included the pattern in her blog made things that much easier.

I have a really limited selection of felt available to me but I do have tons of red, white and cream that I bought last year for another project so that's where I started. And, as luck would have it, I had gotten a great deal on this gingham ribbon (buy 1 metre get 4! free). Now that I have a purpose for it I think I might need more...

Anyway, this was the result of my first effort. Isn't he cute? Indeed!

But a little traditional if we're channelling Sue...

so...I tried a different ribbon and I like it too so I will make both.

But when I was buying the ribbon I had also picked up a selection of beads, because Sue was playing around in my head (AND they were a great deal too - buy 1 get 2 free - it was my day!). So I moved to the white felt and a few scraps of brights that I had to see what I could do.

The embroidery took me back to one of the 4H courses that we did when we were growing up - I remember embroidering a dresser scarf with a huge selection of stitches. My first attempt for this deco I ripped out because the green stems weren't deep enough, and I doubt that I have created the stitch correctly, but it turned out well in the end.

I still need to decide what to do about the eyes and I'm thinking I'll hang this one with a very simple white cord so I've got a few more details to work out, but I'm really happy with them so far so it's time to cut out a few more and try new colour combos for the white. The cream might be a little more romantic because I've got tiny silk roses that I could use...M

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Havin' Waaaaaay Too Much Fun!

It's been play time with the batik scraps lately to make more journal covers for the Holly Bazaar and I am having tons of fun. The process is so free. I love watching how the addition of each strip changes the look and feel of the entire piece. It is so engrossing that I find myself lying in bed at night planning different designs/strip combinations. Maybe I should get a life.

It is amazing to me how each each one develops its own personality and I love how the pops of colour against the more muted backgrounds come into play.

No rules - anything goes - fun, fun, fun.
I've got two more covers ready to assemble and quilt...

...similar, but different (actually, this one is upside down). The colours still look a little muted, especially on this one, but they are nice and rich.

I made this little wonky Log Cabin block - it's about 3" x 4" and will incorporate it into the next one, but I'm also thinking that a predominantly red design needs to be tried.

And speaking of needing to be tried, I found this recipe for Upside Down Nectarine Chiffon Cake while browsing the other day and it just looked too good not to try - especially since the fruit is fresh and in season. This isn't the site that I found it on but the directions and photos are good and I couldn't find the page that I worked from originally, so here you go.

It's a recipe from Dorie Greenspan, the author of the book Baking With Julia, and it's delicious, but not the fastest cake to make - maybe the second time around you'd have a better sense of the process and it would go a little quicker. I baked mine for a full hour rather than the time it suggested and it could probably have used another 5 minutes. It is a light lemon chiffon cake with a toasted almond and oatmeal streusel filling, and carmelized nectarines and got rave reviews from the Official Cookie Tester, even without the suggested whipped cream or ice cream...M

Monday, September 10, 2012

Look What I Found...

When I was doing my 'dumpster dive' a week ago looking for the blue to bind my Irish Chain I turned up an unexpected surprise (is that redundant?) - more of the blue & white gingham with the cherries that I am using for Spot! The piece that I found is on the right and the piece that I had been working with is on the left so you can see it is considerably larger.

This got me thinking about potential borders - maybe a narrow white strip and then a wider gingham border to finish it off.

Or maybe wide white and narrow gingham...

Spot has grown to a nice size - about 29" x 33" I think - but I think I'll add at least one row on the side and another on the end before we get into finishing/borders. The more I see it the more I wonder if it needs a wide gingham border or if I'm better off just making a white border, maybe 2 - 3 inches wide, and then using the gingham for the binding. I still have several more blocks to stitch so there is some time to think about it, but it is nice to have the option....M