Saturday, September 24, 2022

No Need To Trim The Trees

If you play around with something long enough a solution is bound to appear. Or fall out of your stash.

You will recall my initial idea of laying out two rows of my Christmas Pines to create a runner or two for the Holly Bazaar...

and how even the idea of cutting the blocks down a bit was still going to leave them very oversized.

Well, as I kept pondering my options...

this appeared from my stash. Perfect!

I am SO happy with them! Very cheery. And, there was enough to make at least two and back them with the check as well. They are off being quilted but I'm hoping that there's enough fabric left to make at least one more (heaven knows I have enough trees...), even if I have to find a different backing....M

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Peppermint Pines

I've shifted seasonal gears temporarily from autumn to Christmas, from pumpkins to trees, from runners to placemats.

Using Christmas Pines from The Pattern Basket I set to work making a forest of red and white trees, happily digging into the scrap bins to maximize the variety, though I got a bit carried away as I wanted to use up all of the strips that I had cut.

You start by creating these 'layer cake' bits for the tree...

and then add the side pieces to fill out the block. Stumps and side pieces finish it off. Once I got into it, I pieced a few at a time and then finally just finished up the pile. I ended up with more than 40 trees!

Enough to get me thinking that a longer version of this was going to be my layout, so I kept sewing and sewing.

Well, when I laid them out it was waaaaaay too large. The trees finish at 9" tall so you would need a very large table to pull off a runner that is two trees wide by seven or eight long. It was heading into tablecloth territory.

What to do? I decided to try using three in a placemat; finishing them off with a white on white dot that looks like snowballs seemed fun though I have to admit that I'm not certain all of that white is very functional for a placemat. Ah well, maybe someone will think that they work for their holiday décor. Hope so, because I made four!

I did finally come up with an idea for a runner too. Stay tuned....M

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Pumpkin Spice

In my search for new Holly Bazaar ideas Roberta kindly offered up a pumpkin pattern that she thought might suit. She was bang on.

It's called Autumn Spice by The Pattern Basket. Not certain that I would ever make the full quilt, but it's going to make a pretty autumn table runner.

The pattern is really well written and the pumpkins come together quite quickly. I also like the scrappiness of it. Didn't notice until after my cutting was complete that I had accidentally selected all dots for my pumpkins, but I like that, too.

The stems could have been scrappy as well but I opted to simplify things a bit and made them all from the same grey.

I started out thinking that I was going to make a square table topper and experiment with a border. For whatever reason, I cut enough for two blocks, but when the block came together I just felt that it would be lost inside the border (it's about 12" square). 

So, I cut a third and made a runner instead and I am happy that I did. I had plans to use an orange and black gingham for the border but it's just a tad too harsh for the rest of it, so I will keep things simple and stay with a white border bound with green.....M

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

And Sew It Begins

Amazingly, we are already a week into September so time to pitter patter and start getting serious about a little Holly Bazaar sewing because November really isn't that far away and this year the plan is to return to an in-person event - YAY!

I have made so many versions of these stars over the years that I could make them in my sleep, and I still love them, in large part because you can whip them up so quickly. I had cut enough blocks to make this table topper and then a second rectangular option with white stars surrounded by floral blocks (sorry, no photo).

Two down and not so sure how many more to go, but it's great to have a start. The goal is to have all of the toppers sewn by the end of the month and then bind them in October while I plan my list of things to bake for the sweet table....M

Monday, August 29, 2022

On a Sea of Blue

The second of Sigrid's quilts is a beautiful Ocean Waves bordered with Flying Geese

It's another scrappy bonanza, but what really appeals to me about it is the way that the pinks skip along through a portion of it, rather than trying to be integrated evenly throughout.

And those hits of turquoise are an added bonus.

At the centre of each border strip she reversed the order that the geese were flying in, which created a square-in-a-square block. The blocks on the top and bottom of the quilt are identical, as are the blocks on either side.

This one needed a backing, so back into the stash we went. This time we pulled two blues that I had actually found while doing a little klepto quilting in Linda's stash a couple of years back (ah, the stash - the gift that keeps on giving...). There wasn't quite enough, so we integrated a very soft green of the same vintage. The colours are a little brighter than what is shown here.

The scrappiness of this one is like a walk down memory lane - so many prints that we recognized!

Roberta has this one in hand as well and tells me that she expects it to be quilted sometime this week, which will be wonderful. Bill is planning to travel this way in October so we'll have plenty of time to get them bound before he arrives....M

Monday, August 22, 2022

Sentimental Stitches

I've written before about Betty's friend Sigrid and her passion for quilting. She loved to stitch by hand and was a master at mixing lots and lots of prints before it was really a thing; I learned a lot from her and continue to see her influence in my quilts to this day. Sadly, she died very unexpectedly in 1995, but recently a couple of her quilts are back on our radar.

Her husband Bill has two flimsies that he would like quilted so that they can be enjoyed by their sons so Betty encouraged him to ship them here and we'd help take care of that. Well, the box has arrived!

This is the first one, which I am calling a variation on a Drunkard's Path. It's beautiful, but a little on the small side, so we decided to see if a deep dive into the stash could offer up something suitable for an additional border.

Wa-la! This Hoffman print, also circa 1990, was perfect. Not sure if this was mine or one of mom's, but it felt really good to find it such a wonderful home.

And it's a terrific fit for the rest of the quilt too.

Betty had so much fun pouring over the blocks and discovering many prints that she had shared with Sigrid and I have to admit that I recognized many of them as well.

Seeing Sigrid's stitches again after almost 30 years was like visiting with an old friend. Very touching.

You can see her attention to detail in this perfectly mitered corner.

To ensure a nice, even margin of the green where the first border fabric meets the floral, I stitched from the back of the stripe and it worked out quite well.

While we were stash diving we also pulled a pretty green print for the binding, so Betty will start work prepping it and I will get this off to Roberta for quilting.

It is more than a little surreal to not only see these quilts again, but to help move them along to the finish line. A truly sentimental journey....M 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Fun In The Sun

In my last post, I mentioned that a black and white quilt would not be for me, but that's not to say that black in a quilt is out of the question. I remember an interior designer once saying that a little black in every room was a good thing, and so it is in this quilt that Jane hand pieced.

The flimsy has actually been finished for the better part of a year (it's amazing what you'll find on your phone!). She started it last summer and when I first saw it last August she was well on her way; it was a perfect project for stitching on the deck.

The square-in-a-square block is built using a nine patch for the centre block. The corners are a collection of verdant berries, veggies and blossoms, including that fabulous coleus in the bottom left. So beautiful.

The tiny red and white print is used throughout and the remaining squares of each nine patch are a collection of reds, greens and blacks. Her sashing is a low volume black and white and she used randomly placed prints for the cornerstones.

To me this is a great summer quilt. I think that she was toying with making it to use as a tablecloth but given the final shape it looks like it will be a throw....M

Thursday, August 04, 2022

We Are Responsible For Our Dreams

Is this not one of the most intriguing quilt photos? It is a  21' x 21' tessellated blanket fort in an almost magical woodland setting and it was made by Kevin Clancy for a month-long slumber party tour called We Are Responsible For Our Dreams, a nomadic platform for collective dreaming and shared experience. Besides the image pulling me in, that title resonated with me and all of the quilts that I dream of making.

It's story is one of many reasons that I have been spellbound by Quilted. The book is Volume Q in the UPPERCASE Encyclopedia of Inspiration, an ongoing series released in whimsical order on all manner of creative topics (UPPERCASE  is a quarterly magazine for the creative and the curious published by Janine Vangool in Calgary, AB. She started the magazine in 2009 as a creative challenge, to push herself beyond what client projects could do and to fill a void in the magazine space.)

Every time I pick up Quilted I find something new to pull me in, in large part because there are so many wonderful ideas for using those leftover bits to make fabric and then integrate it into traditional patterns.

From improv...
to very, very structured.

So many ways to expand your horizons! For years, I have wanted to try framing quilt blocks on stretched canvas but I totally love the idea of an improv creation rather than just a single block.

Most amazing to me is that despite piecing together this fantastic collection of quilters from professional connections and friendships that Janine has made over her years of publishing and designing three fabric collections for Windham Fabrics, she is not a quilter! 

I have been selfishly hoarding Jane's copy for the better part of a year now so I finally broke down and purchased my own. It looks like it is sold out on the UPPERCASE website but Janine lists several shops that carry her books and magazines and I was able to find one at Soul Paper. Guess Jane might get her copy back after all!....M

Sunday, July 31, 2022

A Touch of Class

My friend Jean sits on the board of the Carp Fair which is held about an hour away from us each fall, so when she reached out to see if I was interested in participating in this year's quilt block challenge I was happy to help. Their theme is A Touch of Class and blocks will be used to make items to be raffled at the 2023 fair (these folks are organized!).

A bundle of goodies arrived last week so I decided it was better to get at it rather than risk having it swallowed whole in the natural disaster that is my sewing room these days.

I am toying with making a Bear Paw quilt and found dimensions that worked to make the required 14" block, so it was a helpful exercise. Using all seven fabrics provided, I was able to create a scrappy version but if I had my druthers I would have used more prints to make it even scrappier. Regardless, it turned out not too badly.

To simplify things, I used the four-at-a time method for making the HSTs, so I paired up my fabrics in advance.

When I asked The Official Cookie Tester what he thought of it he very diplomatically said, "It's different than what you usually make". He isn't wrong. Black and white would not be my choice of fabric for a quilt, but you play the hand that you are dealt. 

Looking at my block I realize that I probably should have laid out the entire thing before stitching so that I could get a more randomized placement of the whites in the HSTs (I only did that for each quadrant). Lesson learned. It will be fun to see what direction other quilters choose....M