Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Sandy's Citrus, and a Few Other Projects

Last summer I showed you a few projects that Sandy was working on, including her first attempt at working with the Westalee Rulers. Well, I think she might be hooked. Citrus is her second quilt using the rulers and it is as awe-inspiring as the first. Just look at that precision!

When deciding on a palette she looked to a couple of large paintings that they own for inspiration - she wanted the flavours and colours of the Caribbean because of their love for the region and diving. Looks like she nailed it.

You will recall that her first quilt was a tone-on-tone piece with lightly patterned fabrics - a strategic decision to provide a little forgiveness, given that it was her first attempt. This time she thought, "What the heck, make this a challenge!" (like the first one wasn't???). She continues to enjoy the process, right down to all of the invisible stitching required to put all of the pieces together. The only thing she'd do differently is make it rectangular as she is not a huge fan of square quilts. Sounds to me like there will be another one in the offing.

She also sent an update on her beautiful hexagon quilt which she has been busy hand quilting. LUV! The texture is so great. With the heat of the summer it has been set aside as its too hot to sit under a quilt in the hoop, but things will begin to cool down now as we approach September so she will be able to pick up her needle again soon.

In the meantime, she's continuing to hand stitch autumnal nine-patches.

And it looks like there will be an autumn runner happening soon, too. I had found the orange Minion fabric in my travels and had to send it to Ed because he's a huge fan (and also because I couldn't resist the name of the print - "Bite Me"!).

Ed is smitten and wants a cape made from it 😄 but I think he'll have to settle for a runner. He's in luck because Sandy just found this great booklet with lots of pumpkin inspiration.

So looking forward to seeing what develops (love the tiny pumpkin with the flying geese in it).

She also recently scored a great deal on this beautiful bundle that's she's had her eye on for a while (oh, the possibilities) so me thinks that her calendar will not be lacking for things to do....M

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Getting a Handle on Things

#QuiltBee: wonky basket quilt block
Somewhere in my sewing room are a dozen scrappy, wonky baskets. They had lived on my design wall for a time but then were 'safely' packed away to who knows where when I needed to use the wall. The big question is where.

I've been mulling over how to complete them and looking at lots of ideas for flowers and handles that could be used to fill them, but it needed to be a simplified design so that everything didn't become a jumbled mess. Then I found this wonky basket tutorial. It answered my questions about how to build the blocks (the basket bottom would align with the edge of the block) and I realized that I could piece the backgrounds, inserting the occasional soft floral instead of filling them with flowers. All I needed was to figure out how to sew the handles. Brilliant, but where were those pieced baskets?

Long story short, I have ripped my sewing room apart from top to bottom several times now and they continue to elude me so, before I went totally crazy, I sewed a few new ones.

The handles are made with bias strips so my surplus bindings will be perfect for this - I just have to trim them a little narrower. I started with green polka dots but from the get-go something just wasn't right. The tutorial suggests pressing the curve and then sewing down the handle by machine, doing the inside edge first. It just seemed to be fighting me so I opted to hand sew them thinking that I would have more control.
After ripping out my first attempt and switching to a lighter thread I was optimistic but by the time I finished the first edge I could just tell that the outside edge wasn't going to sit right no matter how well I pressed it. And then the penny dropped. This particular binding was cut on the straight of grain and not on the bias; little wonder that it didn't have the flexibility it needed. Time to rip things out again!

#QuiltBee: wonky basket quilt block
So, after all of that, my first basket is complete and a second handle is now prepped and ready to go. One block is rectangular and the other closer to square, but that's okay - I will build the top around the blocks that I end up with.

Time to get my blood pressure back to normal and sew down that handle. Hope you enjoy some hand sewing today too, but without all of the aggro.....M

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mindful, Slow Stitches

For the past several years when Ed, Sandy, Jane, Betty and Steve plan their annual get together for some fun in the sun it has been at Jane's cottage. They decided to try something different this year and all traveled to a cottage in Prince Edward County for their getaway, complete with several day trips. On one they dropped in to an artisan’s co-op in the pretty town of Bloomfield and saw these pieces that have been profiled in a book by Claire Wellesley-Smith.

Apparently they were all quite intrigued, and rightly so. Look at that stitching!

The gallery owner said that Claire and several other international textile artists are featured in a book called Slow Stitch, Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art, all about the pleasures to be had from slowing down, making connections with sustainability, simplicity and reflection - a less is more approach that values quality over quantity.

The nice part is they were able to touch the work. This piece is by Canadian artist Judy Martin from Manitoulin Island.

It seemed like the perfect thing to share with Kathy and her Slow Sunday Stitching friends. Me also thinks that Santa needs to be given a heads up as well so that he knows which Christmas tree to leave a copy of that book under....M

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

I'm Not Alone in Tiny Town

#QuiltBee: mini Courthouse Steps block
Anne has been playing around with one-inch strips lately too. She was inspired by Lynn's adorable Courthouse Steps blocks designed for her Cute as a Button table topper, and eventually a quilt called Country Courthouse.

#QuiltBee: mini Courthouse Steps block
Each block is anchored with a little nine patch...

#QuiltBee: mini Courthouse Steps block
And then off she goes adding creams and darks.

#QuiltBee: mini Courthouse Steps block
They are all the same and yet each one very different...

#QuiltBee: mini Courthouse Steps block
and at 4" finished, absolutely adorable.

This started out to be a small project of some sort but looking at all of her cream strips makes me think that she might end up with enough blocks to make a throw, or even something larger (apparently they are very addictive). Whatever its end, it is off to a fabulous start!....M

Sunday, August 11, 2019

My Baggie Runneth Over

For the better part of this past week I have held the kitchen table captive with my sewing - I brought the machine upstairs to make a few bindings, and there it stayed. I worked on more of the tiny nine patches for Omigosh, enjoying the view to the back yard and working in natural light. Eventually the baggie that I store the blocks in reached its breaking point so it was time to put a few of the larger nine patches together and clear that backlog.

Making these little blocks is not the speediest of exercises - it would be faster if I was using full widths of fabric and limiting my fabric choices - but scrappy is the way that I've opted to go, and I love them. Once I have the strip sets cut into one-inch pieces I always pin them at the seams...

It helps avoid missteps like this. On a block with larger pieces I might be tempted to just let this go but when the blocks are so small (half an inch finished) I feel that its doubly important to try and be accurate, so there was a little ripping being done as well.

Eventually the second strip gets added, and before you know it, the baggie is full.

#QuiltBee: Omigosh quilt blocks
I was anxious to clear the table and get my kitchen back to normal so I set myself the challenge of making up all of the larger nine patch blocks in the baggie before I returned my machine to the sewing room and put the pedal to the metal. Voilá! Sixteen more blocks now added to the finished pile. It helps to set goals, even if they are small ones, doesn't it?....M

p.s. Still no obvious signs that my basket of one-inch strips has gone down any...

Thursday, August 08, 2019

A Peach of a Day

Warm Peach Cake was the finishing touch to our day yesterday, and it was soooo delicious. It is the end result of a war between me and the fruit flies and I like to think that I won 😏. Apparently it is equally good chilled, so we will test that theory out this evening.

It was also a bit of a reward for getting more of my tiny nine-patch blocks assembled for Omigosh.

Though I have to say that I'm not sure I made much of a dent in my basket of strips. I think that all I did was fluff them up when I was digging through them. Oh well, lots more fun to be had.....M

Monday, August 05, 2019

Mellow Yellow

#QuiltBee: Snippets quilt
We've just enjoyed a terrific long weekend and I finished it off by completing a languishing flimsy, so that's good too. Snippets has been hanging over a chair back for several months now (who am I kidding, its been more than a year!). I thought it was finished but apparently it wasn't.

The more I looked at it, the more it needed a nice wide border... something in a large graphic print. And what did I find in my stash one day? Several meters of this yummy yellow Art Gallery fabric. I thought that I only had a small piece but there was lots to play with.

#QuiltBee: Snippets quilt
Finally, upstairs it came and I pondered things even more.

#QuiltBee: Snippets quilt
At one point I thought that I might include a band of white in the borders...

#QuiltBee: Snippets quilt
but I just loved the idea of all those little pieces bumping up against those large flowers. Decision made.

It took me seemingly forever to do the math - might have been from a sugar overload - but eventually I dug in and then surprised myself with how quickly it went. Duh.

#QuiltBee: Snippets quiltAnyway, I love the end result and the fact that it is now a decent size - closer to 80 x 100" - so no skimpy quilt for me. But you know what that it's time to make a backing. Wonder how long that will take?....M