Friday, February 26, 2021

Lena's Little Quilt

Betty recently put the finishing touches on an adorable heirloom for tiny little Lena and has kindly written this post to tell us all about it:

"On September 16, 2020, we welcomed our first grandchild, a beautiful little girl whose name reflects her love of light.

Being born into a family of quilters means Lena was gifted with several baby quilts featuring contemporary colours and patterns. At only four months, she'd already chosen her favourite, made by great aunt Anne.

As a first-time grandmother, I chose to make Lena an heirloom quilt, not so much baby-like, but one filled with memories and meaning. I call it Lena's Little Quilt because of its small size which was dictated by the fabric I had to work with.

I started with a pattern that I've always called the Bow Tie but more recently have also seen referred to as True Love. This pattern is special to me because it features in my very first quilt memory. I'm about five years old and standing in the washroom of my Grandma Burchat's home, which housed a linen closet where she must also have stored her quilt projects. Grandma is showing a Bow Tie quilt that she was making to my mom and I, and perhaps a few of my sisters. I vividly remember being enthralled.

For the quilt top, I chose to use fabrics given to me by Lena's great aunt Frances who has a passion for Paris and in recent years has travelled there on a regular basis. As a memento, she brought me back three pieces of floral prints. The tags read: tombe la neige - satin de coton and floraison en aquarelle - voile de coton. They were purchased from La Droguerie.

The blue and orange prints especially are illustrated in an impressionistic watercolour style on cotton voile that is as delicate as it is brilliant. The cotton satine features white blossoms and provides a neutral contrast.

But it is on the back of the quilt where the true sentimentality of this heirloom rests. When Lena's great grandmother (my mother) Martha passed in 2007 I inherited one of her cotton nighties which I wore until it became too delicate. Made from cotton voile, it features periwinkle blossoms dancing on a white background, the flowers growing thicker as they fall towards the bottom of the garment. The piece I cut from the back of the nightgown is the perfect size, weight and colour palette to back Lena's Little Quilt.

Although she left us years ago, my mother Martha and my daughter Julia (Lena's mom) still share a powerful bond. It comforts me to know that mom's loving embrace hugs Lena each time we wrap her in this quilt.
So, Lena's Little Quilt, which Julia has decided will reside at Nana and Grumpy's house for now, was made with the love and influence of several creative women across generations. Though new, it's already a family heirloom."

I've seen Betty's quilt in the making and am more than anxious to see Lena cuddled in it. She is just as cute as a button!....M

Sunday, February 21, 2021

More Little Trees

These days when I'm not building yellow houses I'm picking up a Little Tree or two, and they are starting to add up. I think I must have close to 100 made now. I keep a pile of them prepped and ready to go near my chair in the study and often during the evening news two or three come together before I know it. 

They are fun to stitch and I'm enjoying pulling together different combos for the tree, background and stump.

What I really love is having a seam that is longer than 5/8" to sew (can you say Minnie...?). The edge of each tree is about a four-inch seam and it almost feels like a foot by comparison 😄.

I started pressing the seam between the tree and the stump up towards the tree but changed my mind on that so as to avoid a lot of bulk at the bottom corners of the tree when I join one block to another. It means pressing open a small seam, which can sometimes be a little iffy with the iron, so I've been using a handy dandy Fingerthing.

This little gizmo was in my Christmas stocking and is proving to be perfect for such a small job. It's basically a stiletto on a band that you can adjust to fit your finger (I've got it flipped around on my finger compared to the image above).

This is what the packaging looks like; it's full name is Sew-E-ZFingerthing. I use it to help keep my seams open when I press them to avoid burning my fingers but it's handy for any number of things, including guiding your fabric through your sewing machine. I believe that Santa picked mine up from Connecting Threads.

I guess one of these days it will be time to start considering a layout, but it's been so nice just to be able to pick something up and stitch without too much thinking that I haven't really gone there yet.

Lots more fun to be had!....M

Monday, February 15, 2021

Sandy's Island Vacation

This time of year Sandy usually finds herself relaxing in a sunny climate, scuba diving, kicking back and stitching by the beach. Not so much in these times of pandemic. But that didn't stop her from heading to the island - the kitchen island that is - to baste two quilts so that she can get them into the hoop. 

Don't you just love her Log Cabin? With all of that saturated colour it is the perfect antidote to the chills of winter, particularly with that bright and sunny orange backing. And the piano key border just ties everything in so nicely. LUV.

This is the second of the two and the first that will go into the hoop - Blueberry Pie. Isn't it yummy? So different from the Log Cabin but a real stunner.

So now when she come in from her walk each day she pours a hot chocolate with coconut whipped cream, turns on her favourite Netflix shows and she's got hours of entertainment at her fingertips. I'm looking forward to seeing how she quilts it.

The talk of blueberries triggered a little baking. For the past month or so I've been craving a lemon loaf but was just too lazy to pull everything out and make it. Not sure why I delayed but once I got at it I made two; they came together very quickly.

Delish! The sour cream gives them a nice consistency and keeps it lovely and moist; perfect with my tea....M

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A Little Romance

Happy Valentine's Day! All the day's talk of love found me pulling together a lovely romantic mix of florals for a little bit of secret sewing. 

This project has been percolating for quite a while and the moment seemed right to at least get it cut.

The fabrics are dreamy, both individually and as a collective. It's hard to pick a favourite, but I don't have to, do I?

Everything is cut and laid out, ready for the machine. Even unsewn on the design wall they are lovely just to sit back and enjoy.

I'm also enjoying this year's Valentine from Jane, particularly that tiny little bee at the centre of it all. She puts her heart into it!.....M

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Another Housing Development

It seems that I am not the only one building houses these days. Recently I was making arrangements to drop a couple of flimsies off to Roberta to quilt and innocently asked what she had been up to. This beautiful winter quilt showed up in my IN box. Called Winter Village, it is made from a pattern by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. Unlike some of her patterns, there are no templates for this one.

Roberta has long wanted a peaceful, wintery quilt to hang for the months of January and February and landed on this pattern, which she thinks suits perfectly. Her goal was to make it in a variety of greys with just a touch of colour, but nothing that would overpower the quiet winter feeling that she was looking for. I think she aced it!

Blue was a natural choice for her touch of colour so she made one blue house, blue birds and added a few blue berries. She chose fabrics from two Primitive Gatherings lines, Urban Gatherings and Indigo Gatherings. Says Roberta, "The little prints worked so well for the little houses and, other than stitching around the applique, it came together quite quickly."

The applique was done by machine with a blanket stitch. Apparently stitching around the snowflakes was tedious, but not hard - a test of patience, but worth it in the end. And she used the wonderful Let It Snow panto that she used on Jane's Little Trees quilt to quilt it, adding to its soft, snowy feel.

Her goal was have it ready for January 1 and she was delighted to meet it. (A deadline - now there's an idea! I could learn from this girl 😉).

I think that it would make a great square quilt as well.

Her only regret is that because it hangs on the wall there is no opportunity for Miss Ivy to photo bomb it. Not to be put off, Miss Ivy smartly found herself a warm quilt to cuddle into during these cold months. Smart cookie. Apparently she doesn't yet know how to use the TV remote, but she has staff for that....M

Friday, February 05, 2021

A Growing Neighbourhood

After literally months of absence I finally made it back down to the sewing room to introduce myself to my machine and we had a wonderful time getting reacquainted. Top of the list are my yellow houses.

The negative blocks have been cut for ages so all I had to do was sit in and sew - it's incredible that it took me so long to get there, but seeing the results made up for that somewhat (and spending my time getting Candied Hexagons to the finish line and off the hoop was totally worth it). 

There's a few new prints in this batch which is making it fun to work on. They range from very geometric...

to soft and romantic.

It is quite incredible the difference that it made combining both positive and negative versions of this block, and thanks to all of you who nudged me in this direction - it's got so much more depth and interest, a completely different feel to it.

The plan is to add a few more blocks to the finished pile this weekend and take another look at the inspiration quilt to start figuring out the sawtooth border. Oh, and to come up with a better name than 'the house quilt' 😏....M