Friday, September 30, 2016

Saying Goodbye To Danuta

I'm on the wrong end of the growing season to be planting a garden with the harvest setting in, but, despite all of that, the last stitches have been put into Danuta's Garden. It's cheery summer prints are at odds with the fall colours, but that's okay - it's done.

Now it will sit on a pile for a while until I figure out when an how to quilt it, but that 'steeping' is just one more step in the process.

There's always such mixed emotions when you know that a quilt is finished. You're thankful that it's done and you can move on to something new (or, as seems to be the case more often than not, several things new!) but you know that you'll miss working on it as well. Just like a good book - I hate putting down a great book when the final page has been turned - another chapter in that quilt is finished.

I did a very rough count and there are at least 2,500 pieces in this one. That happy, scrappy little four-patch sashing can take the credit for much of that. It would have been faster to do it by machine but it was a great project to do by hand.

I tried get a picture of the whole thing for you but did that in the middle of the day so they are all washed out - this is the best I've got for now. I'll try and get a better shot but we're in for rain over the next few days so that might not happen for a while. In the meantime, it's on to other things!...M

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Squeaking In To The Fall Bloggers Quilt Festival

It's that time again -- time to sit back with a good cup of tea and admire all of the entries for Amy's Fall Bloggers Quilt Festival. She puts an amazing amount of work into organizing and hosting this festival and I love seeing all the creativity in one place.

My entry this time around is Country Charmer which I finished up last December, just in time for Christmas, which is fitting, because it was a Christmas photo of it on Lynn's Sew'n Wild Oaks blog that got me hooked. Lynn designed the pattern and, after much ogling, I decided that I just had to make it. I've entered it into the Large Quilt category.

This one is right in my wheelhouse - lots of little pieces (53 per block), a great opportunity to create blocks with scrappy fabric combinations, and all those tiny nine-patch blocks for the sashing. LUV!

I got the crazy idea last August that if I put my mind to it I might be able to have it ready to be quilted and on the bed by December. If you follow my blog at all you will know that my quilts have very loooooong lives, so that was pretty wishful thinking.

However, nothing focuses the mind like a deadline and so I set to cutting and sewing like a crazy lady, and I managed to do just that.

Mine is larger than the original pattern because I wanted to use it on our queen bed so it ended up around 82" x 92".

It's backed with a great red and green paisley...

and bound with a small red gingham on the bias - another favourite.

Roberta at Cocoa and Quilts did a beautiful job machine quilting it with a pattern called Swirl that is just the perfect combination of swirls and feathers.

It was to be a Christmas quilt but, truth be known, we love it so much that it has stayed on our bed all year round. Maybe I should switch it up with another quilt for a month or two so that I can put it on again in December!

This one was like a good book that you want to read again and again, and one that I am tempted to make again and again....M

Saturday, September 17, 2016

What a Week!

We all have them - those weeks where you look back and wonder if anything else could possibly have been added to the mix. Whew! Needless to say, not much sewing has been happening the last little while, but I do have a few pics for you of a Halloween table topper that I started a couple of weeks back using a quick and easy tutorial I found at My Cotton Creations.

This one is much more Halloween themed than my Halloween Lite toppers - lots of Jack 'o Lanterns, spiders, candy corn, orange fishnet and funny little owls. I was thinking first of making it for the Holly Bazaar, but that happens a week or two after Halloween so I don't know how interested folks would be in it by then - I think that they would have already shifted to Christmas at that point.

So then I thought I'd try to add it to the Madonna House bundle, but just ran out of time. It might get there yet this Fall.

There's a tiny stripe of green in the Jack 'o Lantern print so I'm going to back it with a green just for a little interest. The green is a little washed out in this photo - it looks much richer in natural light.

I stopped when it was time to quilt it. My grand plan was that it would be my practice run for machine quilting cobwebs into Pumpkin Patch at Midnight (which Jane is still very patiently waiting for and I am scared to quilt) but the scale is much larger - the strips are two inches wide) and I'm not convinced that it would look as good. So it's pinned and waiting for the final answer to appear....M

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Little More Time

After I finished sewing down the bindings on the three charity table toppers on Sunday I realized that I had almost a week left before Anne was going to deliver them, so I started cutting blocks for a few square Christmas toppers. I made a couple of these last year for both Madonna House and for the Holly Bazaar and they were really popular so I decided to go with a pattern that I knew and that worked up fairly quickly.

This time around I used a much more rustic palette - mossy greens, deep golds and rich reds but still with white stars - very country feeling. At first I wasn't convinced because at the same time as I cut these out I cut squares using the brighter, more traditional Christmas prints that I had the last time around.

But as they came together I liked them more and more. They are quilted in the same soft gold as the Halloween Lite toppers and it just keeps the whole thing warm and cozy.

I also tried a different chris-crossed quilting pattern than the diagonal rows that I had quilted last time around.

The backs are green and gold and they are all bound in one green or another.

So, by the time Anne was ready to go there were three more toppers to add to the pile.

The little bundle of felt heart decorations that I made a couple of weeks ago also got included in the mix. I cannot believe that I am this far ahead of the game! I give all credit to the power of a deadline.

There are three or four more cut ready to work at when I have the time, and hopefully done in plenty of time for the Holly Bazaar in early November (now watch - just because I said that I'll be burning the midnight oil to get them finished!).....M

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Mission Accomplished

All three of my charity table toppers are now bound and ready to be sent off, and I'm happy with them.

The HST runner (you'd think that I could come up with a better name than that) is fresh and bright...

and the gingham binding and backing finish it off nicely.

There was a bit of high anxiety with this one because it is 44" long, exactly as wide as the backing, so I had to make certain that things didn't shift as I quilted. It all worked out in the end, which was a relief because I couldn't trim any from the top without distorting the pattern. I didn't think of cutting the backing lengthwise until today. Duh.

This is one that I could seriously consider keeping for myself, but I've decided to send it off. I have photos of it if I really feel the need to have one. It is better to give than to receive...

And the two Halloween Lite toppers are finished too. I have to say that I'm quite enamored with this colour palette. Stephanie dropped by the other day so I showed them to her and she's quite taken with it too.

There are two more to be quilted and finished; I think that one of those will go to the Holly Bazaar and one will be for me. It feels good to have these done and ready to pack up....M

Sunday, September 04, 2016

The Best Made Plans

Okay. So I was all gung ho to get the last sashing and borders attached to Danuta's Garden and be ready to call it a quilt when suddenly the plan changed. Anne will be visiting the Madonna House Gift Shop next weekend and can drop items off for me, so I switched gears and went into table topper mode.

First I finished the four Halloween Lite lozenge toppers.

Then I added a narrow gold border to two and a wider black border and quilted those two with a soft gold thread. I'll work on the others two later for the Holly Bazaar.

I just love using my Hera marker to get me started with the machine quilting. I scribe a few widely spaced lines and then use the guide on my machine to fill in between those lines as densely as I like. The marker avoids having to worry about marking and getting marks out after the fact. Love it!

And then I pulled out the long HST runner and quilted it. I didn't straddle the centre seam the way I had intended to so I ended up having to use a variety of row widths, but I think it works. I found enough red gingham bias binding hanging on my design wall and hiding under a pile on the ironing board (there's just a foot left over) so I used it and backed it with a big, bold red and white gingham.

So today it's job one to get all three of these bindings sewn down. It's another beautiful day in our last long weekend of the summer so I think I'll head to the deck to enjoy some hand sewing.

It hasn't all been table toppers though. Peaches are in season and last night we had a BBQ to celebrate the last of summer, so I modified one of my favourite summer recipes - Ina Garten's Fruit Crostata - and made one with just peaches, a sprinkling of slivered almonds and a touch of almond flavouring.

OMG - deee-lish!!!

If it's a long weekend where you are, enjoy it to the fullest. And, if it isn't, well, it's still a weekend, so enjoy that too!....M