Saturday, February 27, 2016

Five It Is

Work has been so busy this week that the only quilt progress I can claim is finishing the fifth row of sashing. Some weeks are just like that.

It likely would have gone quicker if there was less of this...

and more of this...

And it gave the list maker in me the chance to tick off another tick on my progress chart. It also inspired me to put together a few more of the shorter three piece sashing strips. I love lists....M

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Snowballs For My Backing

You know how quilters love to pet fabrics? Well, consider this a virtual fabric petting session.

I found a great fabric for the backing of my improv trees online for a great price in Hancock's sale bin so I took a chance that the colours would work and ordered it. By the time you pay duty, and with the low Canadian dollar, it really doesn't make good sense for me to order from the States, but the stars aligned for this one. Happy I took the chance because it's going to be perfect (it's the piece on the left).

Like the binding fabric, this one too had the word 'snowball' in the name of it, 'snowballs and diamonds' maybe; it's from Marcus Fabrics. I can't remember, but I really do like it. It's warm enough without being overpoweringly beige. Interestingly, I didn't notice the subtle overall almost bias gingham the pattern creates until I took this pic; if you squint a little you really see it. Even more reason to like it.

And, since I had depleted the creams and whites in my stash, I made a quick stop in Stedmans on the way home from a business trip to Toronto last week. They had fat quarters on sale so it was a bit of a no brainer and I found a few extra pieces to add to the pile.

That lovely orange Philip Jacobs floral came with my Hancock's order - I just couldn't resist - as did the pale blue Anna Griffin floral at the bottom of the pile. Another great deal, which is good because I needed enough for the backing of a project that I haven't even started!....M

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Four, Almost Five

There are now four completed 29-piece sashing strips for Danuta's Garden and the fifth is very close to being finished too - eight more four-patches to be added and then I can stroke that one off the list too, so that's today's hand sewing.

I would probably be further along if I didn't spend so much time admiring the combinations in the tiny four-patches...

...or if I stayed off Pinterest...

Regardless, they are moving along nicely and it will be a lovely way to spend my Sunday afternoon. When I finish number five there will be two more to go and then a batch of the smaller three-piece sections....M

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Making Friends With Freddy

Seeing the wonky baskets that I posted about a week ago prompted Jane to pull down a shoe box of bright scraps that she'd been saving and start working on an improv quilt of her own. She has a couple of books by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston and has been wanting to give their style and try so now seemed as good a time as any.

She's got a great collection of fabrics...

and in no time was off to the races.

The spirals in the centres of the blocks are from placemats that she found at a flea market. There's a second larger size that she wants to incorporate as well.

I gave her a quick tutorial on how to put together a wonky star and I'd say she's a natural at these too. Luv those fabrics!

The star looks so great with her wonky blocks. I think she's going to have tons of fun planning and putting this one together. I'm certain that she and Freddy will be great friends by the time this is finished...M

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Be Mine, Valentine

Yesterday Dori sat quietly stitching this lovely little Valentine for her hubby, Rob. He sat beside her through most of it, oblivious that the treat was for him, but was both surprised and delighted when he opened his gift this morning. It's not chocolates or roses, but it is beautiful and from the heart.

Happy Valentine's Day!....M

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Scrap Baskets - Literally

Back in early January an attempt to clean up my cutting table ended up as a good excuse to sit down and sew scrappy blocks together that are the beginnings of improv baskets á la Freddy Moran or Gwen Marston, bright and fun.

At least I think that they are. When I see them all together I see flower pots waiting for bright red improv geraniums rather than baskets, but that might change once I put handles on them. Or maybe the idea of the geraniums will take root.

It was fun to just keep digging into the pile of scraps and seeing what the end result would be. I worked quickly, forcing myself not to think too much because I don't do 'random' all that easily, and in no time I had a dozen baskets about 8" wide and anywhere from 6 - 10" tall.

Each one has its own personality, but I found it interesting that as I trimmed them I tended to angle the top edge up and to the right. Not sure what that says about me, if anything.

I tried very hard to keep it to just scraps but there were two or three cuts made into the stash to help round out the variety, but that was it.

You've seen this quilt before. It's a page from an old calendar and one that is never far away from my design wall.

My baskets are much larger and brighter and more scrappy than these but I do like the way they were put together and surrounded with hexies. I think a slightly different approach is in order but there is a nugget of something here that keeps pulling me back....M

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Border(s) Are Next

My  grove of wintery improv trees is now all together, it just needs a border or two.

It will not be a large quilt but it is so white that somehow I cannot see it being used as a throw for the sofa. Maybe I'll change my mind on that, or maybe it will be hung. Either way, I like it as much now as when I started playing with making the trees.

Several of the quilts that I looked to for inspiration included a bird or two, and Dori was lobbying hard for one to be included, but at the end of the day I felt that the stars and the trees were enough. Towards the bottom I did insert a few very subtle improv 'icicles' under one tree to add a little interest, but no birds.

I had planned to make two fairly wide borders on it but I'm leaning now to just one with the white version of this swirl patterned fabric on the right (I used some of the cream in the quilt).

The polka dot fabric on the right was to be the second border but it may well end up being the binding instead.

It's Superbowl Sunday so there will be lots of football on TV today. No more time to play with borders and bindings right now cause I've got a pot of chili to make. May the best team win (even though I'd love for Peyton to go out on a high)!....M

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A Sigh Of Relief

You know that 'what keeps you up at night' saying? The one that helps you figure out what you should be tackling first? Well, for some time now yellow has been keeping me awake. More specifically, wondering if I was going to have enough yellow for the sashing for Danuta's Garden.

You'll recall that most of the fabrics that I am using for this quilt were the remnants of the original quilt that mom made approximately 15-20 years ago. That includes the tiny yellow polka dot fabric for the sashing, so to expect that I'd be able to pick up any more now should I need it is a big stretch.

When I started cutting the sashing triangles I totally forgot about needing strips to sit between the stars around the border - I only clued in to that a few months ago. So, rather than dig out my piece of yellow and just figure it out, I just practiced some avoidance behaviour and slowly drove myself crazy. Now that I've picked it up again it's been increasingly difficult to avoid the elephant in the room.

I decided that if I only had enough for the star sashing then I would find a yellow to work in to the sashing for between the nine patch blocks for a slightly more scrappy look. It would take a little figuring, but it was doable. I found two options that would likely work so I set those aside (the one on the left is the yellow that I am using). And Linda very kindly offered me her stash to dig through on the off chance that she had picked some up at the same time; I'd already had my way with Jane's stash, but to no avail.

FINALLY, I just dug out the fabric and solved the puzzle. I've cut all of the star sashings and there's still a good piece left over for the rest of the triangles that I need. Sheesh - no need to worry at all. Gotta wonder why it took me so long to get to it, but it's nice not to have that  rolling around in my head anymore....M