Sunday, April 28, 2019

Believe It or Not, I Still Quilt

tiny flying geese quilt blocks: QuiltBee
You would be excused if you were wondering lately whether I had given up quilting all together as there has been very little visual evidence of it. Fear not! While Jane's parade of flimsies has been going on I have been busy, busy, busy in the back of the house making a bazillion (okay, maybe 200 or so) tiny flying geese.

Remember the fat quarter bundles that I bought from Jane? Well, the browns were the first to be washed and pressed and pressed into action because this Jo Morton Rhubarb Crisp runner was calling my name. When I picked up the fabric Linda printed off the pattern for me so I was good to go. I have long lusted after this one but didn't think I would get to it so soon.

tiny flying geese quilt block: QuiltBee
Santa must have known about my plans well before I did because it has been the perfect way to initiate my little 1" x 2" flying geese Bloc Loc ruler that he delivered this past Christmas. LOVE it! Not sure what size I thought that all of those geese were but I got a bit of a jolt when I took another look at the size of the ruler. Can you say tiny? I almost backed out but I'm so glad that I didn't - they are totally stinkin' cute.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Wrapping It Up

Here's the last installment of Jane's parade of quilt tops ready to be quilted. This is her gorgeous Danuta's Garden, or as she sometimes refers to it, Summer Fling. It's a beauty.

Like all the others, it is hand pieced (except for the flying geese that I showed you earlier). Don't those bright colours just say summer garden?

And she has lots of  Martha Negley 's spectacular prints sprinkled throughout.

Now to give some thought to how to quilt it. With all of those tiny four-patches in the sashing I suspect that it will be an edge to edge pattern.

I had set this green print aside as the backing for my version of the same quilt and happened to have it with me when I dropped in on Jane. As soon as we pulled it out we just knew it was much better for her quilt, so back to the hunt for my backing, but that's half the fun of it, isn't it?....M

Monday, April 22, 2019

Farewell Gwen

Photo: Quilty Folk
The quilting world lost an icon last week with Gwen Marston's passing. She leaves a void that is hard to imagine being filled. I never had the pleasure of taking any of her workshops but a strong thread of her influence has run, and continues to run, through my evolution as a quilter.

Krista at Poppyprint had a lovely post in 2015 about a workshop that she took with Gwen and beautifully encapsulates her groundbreaking approach to quilting as 'a folk art/Amish/Gees Bend charm'.

Cat's in the Cupboard
More specifically, 'Gwen, and possibly a few others like her, paved the way for so much of the modern quilt making movement that is steam rolling through the quilt world and internet today. Solids? Stitch and flip corners? Slice and insert strips? Wonky strip borders? Improv triangles? Wonky stars? Alternate grid patterns? Liberated medallions? She was doing it all in the late 90s. Every one of her many books is an inspiration and an illustrated guide to her quilt making journey from folk art quilts to improvisational masterpieces.'

Rest in peace, Gwen......M

p.s. Love this one - it is made entirely from scraps salvaged from one of her weekend workshops.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

hexagons quilt: QuiltBee
After a busy week it's time to sit back and enjoy a day of stitching on Anna Levens.

The corners are slowly being filled in but it's time to dig through the basket and baste more papers.

Of course, I will need some sustenance to see me through this....M

Thursday, April 18, 2019

On With the Show

Floral Nine patch quilt: QuiltBee
Here's part two of Jane's trunk show. This quilt was started last winter and is ready to go.

The large floral is a vintage piece that she picked up at the Hintonburg Fabric Sale a few years ago - isn't it gorgeous? It's a beautiful excuse to make a quilt. Again, it's predominantly nine-patch blocks, nothing complicated, but great use of colour and placement work to make it a beauty.

Nine patch quilt: QuiltBee
This scrappy blue and cream picot edge really sets it off nicely, as do the strip of pink between them and the outer border. Very romantic. I had given her a piece of blue floral for the backing but forgot to take a pic for you. It will be a lovely quilt to sleep under.

You will recognize the fabrics in this quilt from one of the bundles of fat quarters that I bought from her recently. Don't you just love that bright blue tucked in with all of those smokey pinks, browns and beiges?

The square-in-a-square border is a nice complement to all of the scrappy stars. I'm thinking that I might use my fabric bundle as the jumping off point for a similar quilt for charity. That bundle is all that is left of these fabrics so I'll have to supplement it with other prints, but that's half the fun.

Snowball quilt with Flying Geese border: QuiltBee
And then there is this sweet Snowball quilt that just oozes romance.

flying geese: QuiltBee
All those soft colours combined with just the perfect pink floral in the border.

And who doesn't like a million Flying Geese? If memory serves me correctly, she learned how to make four geese at a time when making this quilt and was able to do it while drinking wine at the same time. What a talent!

She'll be backing it with this beige, which will let all of those beautiful soft colours shine.

There's still more to share but this post is getting long so I'll be back in a few days to finish up the show....M

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

An Impromptu Trunk Show

Jane has several quilt tops ready to be quilted so I was treated to a lovely spontaneous trunk show last week when she started to look for a backing for her Danuta's Garden (she also calls it Summer Fling). First off the mark was this darling baby quilt for her niece. She's not sure if it's going to be a girl or a boy, but if it is a girl, this will be her quilt. If it's a boy she'll make another one.

Isn't it sweet? Nothing complicated - just four patches, a simple block and great prints.

It is bordered with various sized slabs of soft greens...

but my favourite part is this darling pig print.

It totally reminds me of Holly Hobbie's Toot and Puddle illustrated piglets, which Jane happens to hold a soft spot for. In Chinese astrology, this is the Year of the Pig so it has double the significance. How great is that?

And what about this backing? All those stylin' pink elephants in their dapper little green hats. So much fun.

It is all basted and ready to hand quilt and should be ready in time for baby's arrival.

Next on the block is this summery piece.

All those apples and cherries and polka dots with a bit of Mary Englebright prints tossed in for good measure give it a real picnic feel - fresh, summery and dramatic all at once.

She may take this one to the fabric show and see if someone is interested in buying it; all they have to do is quilt it. Stay tuned - more to come....M

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Shopping Someone Else's Stash

What started out as a trip to find a backing for Danuta's Garden became an expanded shopping trip with Jane and Linda and I came home with a tidy little haul. They are keen to scale down their stashes and have hit upon a great idea.

Jane has been to the Hintonburg Fabric Flea Market over the years and found great deals on quilt fabrics, including beautiful vintage pieces. Last year she tried having a table of her own and moved out lots of pieces that she knew she would never use so she's keen to try it again and has convinced Linda to take a table, too. They have been busy bees of late, prepping packages of coordinated fat quarters to sell and let me have an advance viewing. Great timing, and great deals!

It turned out to be a good way to get me focused on my Holly Bazaar sewing (I know, it's months away, but I need to start planning now to avoid a last minute crush). These browns will become a table runner...

and so will these lovely Christmas prints.

Not sure what to do with these plums, but I couldn't leave them there 😉; placemats perhaps...

and this delicate Christmas palette will become something for me. Not sure what yet, but something.

There was also this bundle of creams/browns with a bit of teal and red, and Jane threw in a surplus block from a quilt that she had made with this fabric line, so that will be the focus of a topper.

And this panel will become a runner. I found a great pattern idea in one of Linda's books so that's half the thinking done already.

And a few odds and sods that I couldn't resist. I think the turquoise print would make beautiful placemats, the soft mauve will work nicely in a border that I have planned for Halo, and the little blue and white check, well, it just had to come home with me. The yellow I have always coveted and I didn't waste any time cutting a few pieces of it for Halo.

Whew! My head was buzzing by the time I got home so the browns and first Christmas bundle were washed, pressed and are ready to go. If you are interested in going to the Fabric Flea Market check on the link above; its on Saturday, May 4 from 10 am - 3 pm at 1064 Wellington Street W in Ottawa - there's nothing like shopping someone else's stash!....M

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Busy as a Bee

How do you like my snazzy little 'Busy as a Bee' zippered bag? It was a Christmas gift from Jane and I had plans for it to make its inaugural hand stitching project Halo, but things have changed. I brought out the project box to add to my piles and as I cut (and cut!) I realized that as much as sewing curves isn't my favourite thing to do, I was even less keen on doing all of the pinning required to make them by hand.

sewing a curved seam: QuiltBee
So I jumped in to see how doing curves at the machine would go, and, well, things went better than expected. So much so that I kept going.

I pin the two centres together...

sewing a curved seam: QuiltBee
and then the two ends. Here I run the pin through the pieces twice so that they stay aligned better.

sewing a curved seam: QuiltBee
Then, with the pie-shaped piece on top, I give the pieces a gentle tug and slowly work my way around the arc. Having a quarter inch guide on my machine is a huge help but even if you don't have one, just take your time, gently easing the two pieces as you go; keeping your needle in the down position helps too in case you pause along the way.

I tried using two additional pins at the quarter way marks but found that I was creating tiny little divots at those points, so I dropped back to three pins and let the fabric bias do the work.

sewing a curved seam: QuiltBee
Everything is pressed to the outer ring. If I knew the final layout I would alternate the way that they are pressed to help with the seams nesting, but I don't.

I started out thinking that I would get all of the square-in-a-square blocks together and move on from there but got itchy to see how my fabrics were going to look together.

In no time I had moved on to this...

Halo quilt: QuiltBee
and then this. I LOVE IT! It looks like a huge collection of old china to me. It also looks like I have done much more work than I really have because none of those curved corner pieces are sewn to the block centres yet - I've just laid things out on the design wall - so the circles will eventually be narrower than they are right now. Apologies for the bat cave lighting.

Halo quilt: QuiltBee
I keep moving things around as I go and wonder if I am over thinking things at this stage, but for now I'm happy to see this mosaic come to life, and much faster than if I had done it by hand. Fear not, there will be another hand stitching project that my little bee bag will be suited to....M