Friday, January 28, 2022

Home Is Where The Heart Is

It looks like I am not the only one still sewing Christmas quilts! Anne has just finished up a gorgeous flannel Home Quarter flimsy in the most adorable fabric collection. She started it January 3 and it's already in line at Roberta's waiting to be quilted so she's pretty pumped about that.

The fabrics were a Christmas gift from the Official Cookie Tester and I and she obviously wasted no time cutting into them. Here's a closeup of what some of the prints look like - there's everything from peppermints to holly to snowmen in top hats to a big, bold buffalo plaid. It's a wonderful mix called Snowdays by Bonnie Sullivan.

It's the same block sewn throughout, the only difference being the fabric placement.

The pattern is Home Quarter from Highway 10 Designs and Roberta put her wise to it; she has made it as well and loved not only the fabrics but how quickly it came together. I believe that she is working on another one...

Anne machine stitched the strips in each block and planned on continuing in that fashion, but when a friend wanted to do a Zoom call she went looking for something to work on while they got caught up and decided to start hand stitching segments. What a treat! She totally fell in love with the flannel, "It’s like pulling a needle through butter, the fabric is so soft and lovely to work with".

Nice as the blocks are all together I think the borders really finish it off beautifully. It will be backed with flannel from the same line so the quilt definitely has some weight to it and is very toasty. What a great winter quilt!....M

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Snow Day Sew Day

If you live in the eastern half of either Canada or the USA, the last day or two has likely been something like ours - LOTS of snow. The huge storm that is rolling through proved to be the perfect excuse to sit tight. Better yet, why not sit at your sewing machine? Suddenly the rows for Wintersweet were piling up just about as quickly as the snow! Just three more to go.

You can see that my design wall is still filled with Halo blocks and pieces so I've been draping the rows over the top of a smaller one in front of it to keep track of them, which is probably a good sign that it's soon time to apply myself to Halo and move it along as well. All those curves make for a much slower go of it compared to the straight runs of four and nine-patch blocks, which has a lot to do with why it's still on the design wall.

I didn't realize until I had most of the white cut for the four-patch blocks that not all of the white was to be white - the pattern shows several low volume prints mixed in to make it even more scrappy. How could I have missed that??? 

It's going to be a lovely, delicate touch. I've stayed to several white-on-white fabrics and the odd pin dot in red and green, and also included this very delicate pink floral. It is really pretty but a much tighter weave than the others, almost a polished cotton. Hopefully it plays well with others when it is all washed.

So my piles of blocks are getting smaller and my strips longer. Guess it will be back to using the 'design floor' when it comes time to laying this out.

Given how hard the snow was coming down at lunch it seemed like the perfect excuse to pull out the snowman placemats and enjoy a hot bowl of soup. Love me a good snow day....M

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Another Little Trees Quilt is Finished

Sandy has been busy, busy, busy quilting her Little Trees, including over Christmas - which to me sounds like the perfect way to enjoy the holidays - and now it's finished. Apparently the trick is to spend many an hour stitching while watching cheesy Christmas movies and enjoying an eggnog or two... a recipe for success if you ask me.

Unfortunately, she didn't quite make it to get photos while her Christmas décor was still up, but she's still very happy with how it turned out and I can't help but agree. 

Remember the great bicycle fabric that she found for the backing?

Well, she just couldn't resist using some of it on the front too, and who can blame her? It's gorgeous and works so well with the green gingham - such a great find! And I love how she quilted the trees; it's a great fit for the contemporary prints.

This was her first attempt at a bias binding and apparently it will not be her last. I find it so much more enjoyable to stitch a binding on the bias; there's a softness and pliability that you just don't get when it's cut on the straight of grain. That candy cane stripe is the perfect finishing touch to a beautiful Christmas quilt.

And I have to share the beautiful Christmas cards that she made too - SO much work, and more beautiful trees!

Apparently she has nothing else in the works right now so her new year will really be a fresh start when she lands on her next project. She is keen to start on something though because she's not certain that she knows how to watch TV without needle and thread in hand...M

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Getting In My Own Way

The scrappiness of Wintersweet continues to capture my interest but I have to say that in my excitement to get started I've been a little slack on paying attention to even the most basic instructions.

Nine-patch blocks are pretty straightforward, right? Apparently not for me. I started with the red/white blocks which have white/neutral squares on the corners and four red squares. Not paying attention, I did a beautiful job of sewing the exact opposite. A little time with Jack (the ripper) remedied that but I still repeated my folly a few more times. Sheesh.

When I started to play with a few green blocks there was obviously some muscle memory built up because I had it down pat. Problem is, the corners and centres for these blocks should be green! More time with Jack. 

I think I finally have it figured out now but I'll admit to a bit of self-talk to help keep things on track.

And I don't do myself any favours when it comes to scrappy nine-patches. This pattern is designed around strip sets, which means you get several consistent sets of blocks throughout the quilt. I must be a little OCD because if the quilt is to be scrappy then I want to avoid those repeats and really work to having each block different from the next. So much for taking advantage of speed-sewing techniques!

That said, I do a bit of a modified strip set, joining a light and a dark strip and then sewing down a variety of blocks. It's a little slower for sure, but it gives me the mix that I'm looking for and once you get into the groove it moves along quite nicely. All of which is to say that, despite this being a 'quick' quilt designed for strip piecing, by the last step in the process I'm back to working with 2.5" squares instead of strips. Ah well, it's still fun....M

Sunday, January 02, 2022

New Year, New Quilt

The tail lights of Santa's sleigh are long in the distance but it seems that I am not ready to say goodbye to red and green quite yet. An innocent scan of a few of my Pins on New Year's Eve day opened the door wide for the quilting squirrels and soon I was off cutting strips for Wintersweet.

It's an Irish Chain pattern from Cakestand Quilts of a few years ago that was originally made up in a wide variety of Fig Tree fabrics, which I love, but which are in short supply in my stash, so I opted to go with what I have and make it really scrappy (surprise, surprise). 

The beauty of scrappy is that the more variety you add in any given colour, the better the outcome, so I set off digging. In addition to cutting from yardage and larger scraps, a little scavenging through drawers and bins revealed a few scraps like the one on the left that were just big enough to give me one or two squares to work with. Love that!

Nicola has kindly provided a free pattern and tutorial so there was really no reason not to dive right in. It relies heavily on a number of strip sets to move things along quickly, and in no time I had several 2.5" strips cut and was off to the races. When I came to the end of my spool it seemed like a good time to call it a wrap for 2021 so I trundled upstairs, wished the Official Cookie Tester 'Happy New Year' and settled in for a long winter's nap. It looks like we'll by lying low again for a while, trying to stay out of the way of the Omicron variant, so I'm looking forward to working with this cheery palette to help pass the time.

I hope that you have a very happy and healthy New Year and that your days are filled with many creative diversions as you explore your quilting passion!....M