Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Colour Queen Is On Her Game

Now that Sea Glass is finished I'm itching to get back into some brighter colours. The trimming and pressing for Fly Away Home is all done so I think it's time has come.

Jane, affectionately known as the Colour Queen, came through in spades for me recently. We went to Stedman's semi-annual, amazing sale week before last and she plucked a bolt from the stacks that will be the ideal backing for this quilt. Isn't it just gorgeous?!

The challenge for me is that there is not quite four metres of it, but this will be a sofa quilt so I think I can make it work. I'll make the backing and then work the size of the top to that.

This is the pattern that I'm working from...

I'm thinking that I want the flying geese rows on roughly a 45 degree angle instead of vertical. I love the layout but hesitated to go this route when I realized how much I'd be trimming off, but if the quilt is going to be small I think I can live with it.

Time to start laying things out and doing some math to see how big this baby can get. I'd love to have this one done for Christmas, but that might be a tad optimistic....M

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ready to Wrap

Wonderful Roberta from Cocoa and Quilts had promised that she would have Sea Glass quilted by the end of the month so when she called late last Sunday to say that it was ready I was thrilled - she was more than a week ahead of schedule.

She has done another beautiful job of the quilting - her work is meticulous.

We picked a swirling pattern that has the slightest bit of feathering to it and it looks lovely against all of the strips. She chose a pale turquoise thread to stitch it and it is perfect. I know I called it Sea Glass, but the quilting is reminiscent of wintery snow drifts too.

She said she wanted to get it back to me quickly, not only so that I could get it to Jean on time but so that I could spend as much time as possible binding it, taking it at a leisurely pace and just enjoying all of the fabrics, because this would be the last time I would have with it, which I thought was a beautiful sentiment.

It's backed and bound with the same fabric, a light grey & cream print that has just a hint of blue. It is perfect - thanks again, Linda!

Last night I sat down to watch the Ryder Cup and cheer on the Europeans and got a little more than half of it bound.

Today, we enjoyed another spectacular day of weather - more summer than autumn, really - so I finished it off out on the deck, enjoying the warm sunshine, the fall colours and the last of the summer blossoms.

The Official Cookie Tester kindly agreed to hold it up so that I could get a full shot to show you.

So now it's off to Jean who will wrap it up and deliver it to the newlyweds. I hope that they enjoy it for many years to come....M

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Playing With Pink

I've been playing with pink of late in an effort to make a few more baby bibs, and it's been fun. No pattern or extensive planning, just playing with scraps.

I created two different patchwork panels using the same fabrics and then randomly quilted the tops to pieces of batting.

I also made a more simplified version with a last scrap of turquoise that must have come from mom's stash. They all went together quite quickly but things slowed down a fair bit when it was time to clip the curves because just about every bit of the seam line is a curve. So I prepped all three and sat in front of the PBS show on the Roosevelts to enjoy the process.

And, since the Official Cookie Tester is recuperating from a bit of recent surgery, I decided to bake him a pie - pumpkin, his favourite, and the first of the season......M

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fibrefest Finds

Last weekend a gang of us packed into cars and headed off to Almonte's 19th annual Fibrefest to see what we could see. I had gone for the first time a year ago and enjoyed it, but thought that this year it was even better. Of course a few bags of goodies were to be had...

I had a very pleasant surprise just after we entered the show - Mad About Patchwork had a booth again. They weren't posted as a vendor on the show's website so I wasn't expecting to see them, so this made my day. I picked up this lovely collection of fat quarters...

And this bundle from Up Parasol. I don't normally buy collections but I couldn't resist the turquoise print that was sitting on top, so these 9 fat quarters came home too.

BTW, they recently moved to a new, larger loft space and are offering a giveaway to celebrate - you might want to check it out.

I found a great tool for tightening the wing nut on my quilting frame. The one that came with the frame is horizontal and a little awkward at times, but if you look closely you will see that this one has a slot in the far end so that you can use it much like a screwdriver. Ingenious.

And I picked up a hook for wool rug hooking hoping that it will provide the incentive to haul out a cushion project that I started years ago (does that sound familiar?) and is languishing in a bag in my sewing room. The soft foam handle really appealed to me and the gal that I bought it from waxed poetically about it, so we'll see if it can work its magic on me too.

I'm excited about my last find too - lavender scented crushed walnut shells for filling pincushions. I've heard about this on various blogs but had never seen it to buy - apparently its is great for keeping your needles sharp; the fact that it's lavender scented is a bonus.

Again there was an fabulous textile exhibit at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum - Japanese influenced pieces by Reiko Sudo hung in the gallery on the ground floor. It runs to November 22 so you still have time if you want to see it. A stop at the farmers' market, a delicious lunch at the Palm bistro, and a tour through General, an inspirational downtown gallery, were more than enough to offset the rains that persisted all day....M

Friday, September 19, 2014

Scrappy Little Stars

Cleaning off the ironing board gave me an excuse to try another block with the Hugs & Kisses scrap HSTs - the Friendship Star.

I debated as to whether I should make them out of just a single print with the white or mix things up, or maybe make the centre block the same in all of them; I opted for the mix.

They are quite charming and will be nice with the other blocks that I've made so far. And they will finish up at 5 1/2" so they aren't too big either. Fun! I'm almost finished trimming and pressing all of my Flying Geese but this was a nice diversion....M

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Iron Maiden

This is where I've spent a fair bit of time lately. Not a bad little corner really, especially now that I have hung one of the beautiful heart garlands that my niece Julia made me, but let me back up a bit.

My ironing board sits to the right of my chair in the sewing room at table height, making for easy pressing. For quite some time now this has been the view from my chair - just beyond the iron the trimmings from Hugs and Kisses, which I would play with occasionally, and then piles of flying geese. They have been perched on the far end, waiting for me to have the urge to spend some quality time with the iron. You know how it is - you have to be in the mood. I knew it would happen, so I just enjoyed seeing them there as I worked on other stuff.

Now that Sea Glass is at the quilter's I was anxious to work with more colour. I tend to leave my projects in piles around the room so that I remember to pick them up again (when they get put into a drawer they don't have a chance), so I didn't have to look too far to have my choice of something to do. Bonus - the pattern was there too!

So I spent a fair bit of time pressing open the seams and trimming the sections that are pieced - most of them are in units of 6 or 8. Not until I was almost finished did I realize it would probably make things easier if I pressed all the green seams in one direction and all the red in the other, so it's back to the board before I begin to put them together.

That hot mess that you see behind the pile of trimmings is a scrap of batting that I used to keep my cutting board clean - it looks like heck but works like a charm....M

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Newbie Joins the Fold (or is that Newbies?)

Betty and Jane have been getting together almost annually with friends that they worked with years ago, and this year was no exception. This summer, while they were at Jane's cottage, Sandy became intrigued as Jane hand stitched her Danuta's Garden. Sandy has been into scrap booking for years and it looks like she's now going to be a quilter as well - how fun!

A few days ago she sent through an email to the gals to share the news. Here, in her own words, is the beginning of her journey:

"You girl (Jane) have so inspired me! My friend and I were out today, and I mentioned how much I'd like to try quilting ... and, she said she'd been wanting to try it, too. So, off we went to our local quilting shop. Needless to say, we were overwhelmed, but thought we'd jump right in. Next up ... I think I'm going to wash my pretty new fabric!"

And a few days later..."Holy crap ... I can't believe you gals used to cut all the pieces out with scissors! I love my handy dandy rotary cutter! So, now I have my piles all sorted and organized for the 20 blocks ... with a little leftover in case I stab myself and bleed all over my pretty fabric!

Tomorrow, I start to stitch. Yahoooo! No doubt I'll be bugging you for tips along the way! I've been cruising the Internet and it seems everyone has their own way of doing things..."

Welcome to the fold, Sandy (and Glenna!). You've picked beautiful, bright colours to begin your new journey and we can't wait to see your project progress!....M


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

True Blue

Miracle of miracles! I sat down to sew a few Sea Glass blocks together on Sunday and before I knew it I had the entire top together, so I have a few photos that show it in a better light than the dull, greyish tones you've been seeing from the basement.

I'm really happy with it. I was a little leery of trying to join all of the white strips accurately because I noticed that a few of them had shifted slightly off centre when I was sewing them, but it worked out. Because the edges of the blocks are all trimmed on the bias there was lots of give if I needed to adjust.

There is only one join that I am not totally happy with but, short of making an entirely new block and inserting it, this one will do. In my mind that's what makes it a quilt (how's that for rationalization?!).

The final size is 56" x 70" and I draped it over the love seat just to see if it will be larger enough to catch a nap under; it's perfect. Whew!

It has since been pressed, the backing washed and sewn together, and on Friday I'll take it to the Roberta to work her magic on the long arm. It sounds like she is going to be able to have it ready for early October so I might just meet Jean's deadline after all....M

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Measuring Up

There are 80 blocks made for Sea Glass now so I've laid them all out to get a sense of colour placement, and also to see how large it is.

Right now it measures 56 x 70" and I wasn't sure if it needed to be larger or not. If I make it larger it would need to have 2 rows added to both the end and the side (40 blocks), so I checked with Jean before doing anything further. She confirmed that the newlyweds want to use it on their sofa and that this size works, so I'm good to go.

I thought I might work on it today but spent most of the day at the church getting ready for our parish roast beef dinner, which is tomorrow. Between my friend Lynn and I we made a total 30 pumpkin, lemon butterscotch pies so I'm a little pooped; maybe I'll give it a shot tomorrow before we head to work at the dinner.

The colours in the photos don't do it justice (the joys of basement lighting), but I am really happy with how the blocks have come together. Its a soft, pretty palette with lots of variety and I hope that they like it too.....M

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Farewell to Summer

Hard as it is to believe, we are now into September. I hate saying goodbye to summer - this one just seemed to fly by - but here we are. Peaches are still in season so it seemed like the perfect excuse to make one last Crostada before cooler temperatures really set in.

I usually use peaches, plums and blueberries but this time it was just peaches (and one lonely little plum tossed in for good measure). Instead of orange rind I added a smidge of almond flavouring and then sprinkled sliced almonds in with the crumble topping. It was fabulous!

And two more Wonky Log Cabin blocks came together as well.

The blocks are just over 6" so I will trim them all to that.

Now I'll need to assemble them into a pillow top, probably adding a blue border. This pic is a little on the dark side, but you get the idea.

It occurred to me that I really need to lay out the Sea Glass blocks and make sure that I have enough before I use up any more scraps or I could be in a bind....M