Friday, June 28, 2013


Mom's Dresden Plate has been folded in the living room, patiently waiting for its binding. I had planned to do the binding in the same yellow polka dot as the backing but when Betty dropped in and had a look at it she suggested going with something either blue or turquoise, so down to the stash I went.

This blue is a gorgeous colour, almost periwinkle, and would work nicely...

...but I think this blue & green check even more so. I luv a bias check binding and really like that the scale of this check is considerably larger than the gingham that mom used for the stems in the so it won't be matchy matchy (is that even a word?). I like a bias binding but the check is woven on the bias so I will need to cut it with the grain to get the bias look that I want.

Today is the start of a long weekend for us so, with any luck at all, by Monday night I'll be well on my way to having this baby finished!....M

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ready To Quilt

The border is on and the backing is together and Stained Glass is ready for the quilting frames.

We got a bit of a break from the rain that seems to have been constant lately so I laid it out on the lawn to get a good look at it. I've framed the blocks with a light gold that helps bring out the golds throughout and I quite like it.

There are so many rich colours in this one that I think I will make a scrappy binding that pulls them all into it.

Here's a better shot of the border fabric - tiny little daisies on a gold background; the backing is the same.

This one is a true team effort - Anne started it, I finished the sewing, and Betty is putting this one up on her frame, so I bundled everything together today, went and picked up the batting and dropped it all off so that she could start it whenever it suited. It's nice to get it out of the sewing room and feel like I had made some progress....M

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Do I Turn Right Here?

As is typical for me, I went down to the sewing room yesterday to cut the last remaining pieces that I needed to finish off the dozen or so blocks for Spot and proceeded to get totally distracted with another project. Not hard since they seem to be layered one on top of the other until the feeling moves me to pick them up again.

I had been slowly sewing my flying geese together in units of about 6 - one or two units are a little longer - for Fly Away Home but they haven't been touched for a while since I was working on the Pumpkin Patch at Midnight. Now that the table is cleared up from that project I felt like getting back into my geese. There's a good-sized pile of red 6-geese units on the ironing board ready to be pressed and I put together about another dozen or so.

As I was sewing I got thinking about the layout. You'll remember that this is what I was working to...

but in the back of my mind I'd been thinking about this, which I really love too...

And it occurred to me that I could easily just turn things to the right a bit and lay my rows on the diagonal without having to wait to start a new project - two birds with one stone, if you will.

I'm also toying with whether the rows should all be pointed in the same direction...

...or alternating. I'm leaning to alternating. What do you think?

By the way, I did get the last of the Spot blocks and sashing cut so I have some hand sewing that I can pick up when I want on as well....M

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Butterfly Dreams

When we were growing up there were always two crib quilts in the house that, long after we left the crib, we would use to nap under or cuddle in when we stayed home sick from school - they were folded and stored under the cushions in the sofa, which I thought was ingenious. One was made of the softest pinks and blues - darling nursery fabrics - and I think that it may have been made from flannelette. I'm not sure where it is now, but I do have the second one. It's a great collection of appliquéd butterflies and is showing signs of its age.

Each butterfly is made in a different fabric so you could spend lots of time occupying yourself trying to find duplicates, but never did. Usually I could recognize some of mom's old summer dresses in other quilts that she made but I don't in this one. Missing wings reveal the less faded yellow that the blocks were embroidered on - they are so bleached out with age now that they are almost white.

A soft grey check sashing surrounds each block and I've always thought that it would have been nice to have it in a floral print because of the butterflies, but the butterflies were all done in very strong and graphic prints and the grey doesn't fight with them so mom must have known what she was about :).

It's about 50 years old and showing its age in a lot of places. This corner looks like it got caught on something somewhere.

Many of the butterflies are long gone but their embroidered skeletons remain and it's fun to try and imagine what they looked like.

The backing is a blue/grey flannel print that works well with the check and, believe it or not, it still feels like flannelette. It's wonderful having such a vivid childhood memory in our home...M

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Laundry Day

Today I've got a bit of a blast from the past to share with you. Betty was washing linens and freshening things up for the summer, and included in that is a quilt that she made in and around 1986 - are we really old enough to remember 1986??? (Don't feel obliged to answer that with your out-loud voice...)

It's called Garden Path and she got the pattern from one of her friend Sigrid's books. Betty and Sigrid were great friends and she still misses her dearly, so it's nice to have this reminder of her in their life every day.

There are 121 little blocks that finish up at about an inch square in each of the larger blocks that make up the 3-blossom mauve design, and then there are lots more in the strips used for the sashing. Lots and lots of little blocks! It is all beautifully hand quilted and gets great use - they have it on their bed all the time.

If you knew Sigrid at all you would recognize what a testament this is to her and her love of quilting. She loved using lots and lots of different prints and she was prolific, beautifully hand-stitching everything, and doing so very quickly. I remember her sitting in her wing-back chair, happily working away, creating so many wonderful masterpieces.

Quilts are such treasures, aren't they?....M

Monday, June 17, 2013

See Spot Grow

Little Spot is getting bigger. It was rainy here yesterday for the first half of the day so I sat down with my coffee and passed the time with it. I had 10 new blocks in hand using the new white-on-white fabric so I decided to add two rows now rather than wait to have a full round of blocks.

The combination of the two whites is turning out to be a good decision. The white-on-white is just a little creamier and adds a nice bit of interest.

I'll have to start using the white-on-white for the wider sashing between the blocks now as I'm down to the last 2 pieces of my original white.

It's about 27 x 45" now and after I add a row along each edge it will be about 36 x 45", which I think will be the finished size. But you never know...the Official Cookie Tester really likes this one and suggested that it would be nice in our bedroom. He's not wrong, but we'll have mom's Dresden Plate for the bed as soon as I bind it, and I don't want to make this one that large. Spot will be for a little tyke....M

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Beautiful Handwork

If you spend any time at all online looking at quilt blogs or checking out Pinterest posts you know that there is in no way a shortage of talent in this world that loves to interpret needle and thread into beautiful and functional quilted works. The combinations and interpretations are constant, varied and always interesting. But every now and then you see someone's work and it just stops you in your tracks. You pour over it, examining every little detail.

Last week I had one of those moments. Linda, from Quilts in the Barn, shared images of Nathalie Méance's work from the recent Pour L'Amour du Fils show that she attended in Nantes, France. She has kindly let me share one of her photos with you (you know, a little eye candy to get you interested), but don't stop here - check out all the lovely shots that she took and be certain to click on the images so that you can see them in greater detail.

Nathalie's work is amazing. The combination of embroidery and pieced blocks creates a richness, depth, sophistication, and a softness that is hard to describe. They don't shout at you but they do draw you in to spend time exploring each and every little seam and embellishment - they exude a love for the craft. You can see a patient layering of fabric and thread and ribbon and beads, coaxing each to a new and lovely interpretation.

Her book The Embroidered Quilts Fairy Pirouette, is published by Quiltmania and includes all of the projects that she had at the show. Might need to add it to your reading list....M

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spot's Back

While I was digging into my basket for more strips to cut hexies for Minnie I came across a baggie with pieces from Spot that I started last summer and decided to pick it up for a while as my hand stitching instead. I remember why I had put it on the shelf for a while - I was coming to the end of the white that I am using and needed to figure out how to transition to a new white.

I had enough to make 4 more blocks with the original white so they are all done now. I've also decided to use a little white-on-white print for the rest of the blocks.

The quilt is currently 5 x 6 blocks so I toyed with putting each of the 4 new blocks on each corner along with a white border the same width, but it just wasn't doing it for me so I'll still use the 4 for the corners on this round and the white-on-white blocks for the rest of blocks. When I see how big it is I'll decide if it needs another round or not.

This is what the original white looks like...

and this is the white-on-white (the blocks aren't pressed yet).

It's a subtle difference but once it comes together I think the difference will be more obvious. I think that I have 7 or 8 of the second type/colour made as well. Much as I love the little hexies it's been nice to have longer runs of fabric to stitch....M

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Pillow Problems and a Dancing Pumpkin

My quilt-as-you-go scrappy pillow top is now finished and sewn to a backing but when I stuffed the form the corners were all wonky. After I played with it a little while I took the form out again and realized that it was really poorly filled - there really weren't any corners to it at all. What to do?

I had seen a technique recently where you taper the seam allowance a little more generously into the corners so that they sit better when turned right side out and had done that, but things still were not right. So, I have a bag of fiberfil that I use to stuff my little felt birds with and I tucked a handful of it into each corner. It did the trick and it looks much better now.

So it's all stitched up and on the love seat in our spare room. I started this as a project to give away but I think that I might just keep my first effort. I think that there are 3 other pillow forms the same size in the sewing room so I'll check out their corners before I stuff my next attempt.

I loved this process - it's not that far from how I assemble the journal covers - and the dense machine quilting leaves such a great texture. It's also nice to see a collection of fabrics that you love all in one little place. Happy, happy, happy.

In the midst of my re-stuffing I happened to look out the window and couldn't help but notice a giant pumpkin dancing in the driveway next door. Not giant, giant, but about 4 feet tall...maybe I was channelling the Great Pumpkin by finishing my Pumpkin Patch at Midnight table topper? Turns out the little girls on our street had discovered a discarded Halloween decoration and decided to use it as a costume. It was great watching the little feet dancing merrily at the bottom of this big, orange pumpkin. Interesting to see its careening path as well, since there were no eyeholes cut out :)  ...M

Monday, June 03, 2013

Coming Up Off The Floor

I received a cute nudge a week or two ago from Deb at Wonky Girl in Australia who follows my blog saying that she was missing seeing progress on the Pumpkin Patch at Midnight. I believe her exact words were "Hey - can we get back to this one? LOL - I was really enjoying watching the blocks come together; wanna see a finish, please ;-) ". Well, what could I do but oblige?

I'd been stalled a little bit waiting for more of the mottled black border fabric so the blocks have been sitting on the floor outside my sewing room patiently waiting to be assembled. I guess I could have put the blocks together but I was too busy distracting myself with other projects.

Anyway, the day I received her note I had actually started working on it, so we were on the same wavelength, but every little nudge helps.

You'll remember that I injected a few different colours into the occasional ring within the 'pumpkins' to create more interest and I also wanted the rings to be a little wonky when they came together - not perfectly aligned all the way through.

The wonkiness worked to a certain extent but, in hindsight, I think it would have helped if would have varied the widths of my strips a bit more - they are all pretty consistent. I have some wonkiness but not in a really big way. Hopefully it will be seen as wonky and not as a really bad job of assembling the blocks!

All said though, I do love it, every last bit of it.

The cat is out of the bag on this one. Since Jane is the Queen of Halloween it's a birthday present for her (does it matter that her birthday was in February?). She's quite excited about that so it's extra incentive to get it finished. I figure that if she needs it for Halloween then I have until the end of September, no? And Jane, if you get it by then you'll have Deb to thank.

Now the real challenge begins. I want to machine quilt it with cobwebs but I have never done free motion quilting, so this could get really interesting....M