Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Quilt Therapy

A little less than a year ago a dear friend of mine experienced a life-altering medical episode that has seen her suddenly become a resident in a long-term care facility. It breaks my heart. No more lunches out, no shared vacations, no whiling away an afternoon sipping a good Manhattan. 

Her home is being vacated so one day her house cleaner dropped off a bag of quilting cotton purchased in 2013 on one of our jaunts to Niagara-on-the-Lake. To help ward off my despair about her current state and our loss, I decided to use them make her a quilt. A quilt for her, therapy for me.

It's an interesting mix. Initially I thought that they were all coordinating, but a closer look revealed fabrics from a couple of planned projects (she is not a quilter but always had hopes of becoming one) so I started distilling them into piles that might work.

There are two beautiful paisleys from the same line, one in winter white and the other in a beautiful rich blue and I was keen to use at least one of them. Originally, I thought that there was blue in the white paisley, but as you'll see in a bit, it's more mauve/purple.

I've found an Irish Chain pattern that will show the paisley off nicely (hence the pattern drawn, literally, on the back of an envelope, above), so my mission was to find enough in my stash to make things work. After several tries I landed on this combo but decided to make a test block before going too far. I'm so glad that I did.

There are two versions of the same block, the only difference being the placement of the light and dark yellows. When seeing them made up the whole thing was just too intense. Back to the stash.

This is where I've landed, but not until I had let them sit together for a while. It will be much more restful....M

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Things Are Starting to Add Up

Happily, several of my friends and family are promising to add a quilt or two to the shipment that our church quilters will be making to Quilts for Survivors in the fall. Additionally, Jean, one of the gals at the church, has been digging into her scrap bags and been making 16" block, one or two a week. Here's a little show and tell so that you can see what she's been up to, starting with a little fun fussy cutting.

She started out making four 8" Log Cabin blocks and combining them all into one block.

She's also been saving her trimmings from making bindings so had lots of little triangles to work with.

The next set was a variation on the same theme, with more Log Cabins and triangles in the same block.

And this time the triangles were a little larger so she didn't need quite as many rounds.

More Log Cabins in the last set...

And then she improvised a little with the triangles because she was running out of long light strips 😉.  All in all, a wonderful testament to keeping those little bits because you just never know when they will come in handy.

I have no doubt that these will be well received and with October still several months off, am hopeful that she has a few more in the works....M

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The End of the Procrastination Trail

Everything finally came together this week and I was able to get the borders onto Diamond Dust and drop it off for Roberta to quilt. Another one off the big chair!

This quilt has had its share of stops and starts. It took a while to land on the right border, but I'd been saving this mauve floral for just the right quilt and I finally found it. I really like the softness of the flowers contrasted with the precise little squares. 

And I'm still really loving those tiny little blocks; they finish off at half an inch. It was a great way to dig into my 1" strips, but by no means a quick way to use up your stash.

At the beginning of the year I thought that this was going to be a quick finish but then I got distracted by my Quilts for Survivors squirrels, like this star...

and Harlequin.

There's a third in the works too, which I haven't shown you yet. All of which is to say that Diamond Dust continued to sit and steep until I was ready for it.

When I finally pulled it out in earnest I toyed with adding a very narrow green border between the blocks and the floral border...

but at the end of the day it just didn't seem to need it.

The backing has been a story all its own. I was all set to use a pink gingham but obviously somewhere along the line I neglected to measure it (!) because there just wasn't going to be enough to get it done. Then the search was on for something else.

With online purchases it's always tough confirming that you have a good colour match, but eventually the backing gods shone on me and I found this lovely pink and white polka dot. The pink is almost mauve and is a lovely match to the floral....M

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A New Slant on Things

In addition to the star quilt that I shared recently, I've made a second flimsy for the Quilts for Survivors initiative. It's based on a pattern that I've seen called Harlequin and was a good excuse to not only make another flimsy, but to learn how to make HRTs (half-square rectangles).

I have a tendency to lean to lighter, more feminine prints but I thought that it was important to have something a little more masculine to include in our shipment as well, so I went with an autumn palette - rich reds, greens, gold and orange with a few creamy neutrals. This gorgeous harvest bread print added some nice texture, a find from several years ago when I was doing some kelpto quilting in Linda's stash.

The cutting was dead easy - 5" x 10" slabs that when sewn and trimmed result in a 4" x 8" rectangle.

Laying out the pieces to sew takes a bit of concentration, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy; I used this tutorial

You need to ensure that you are sewing blocks in opposite directions so that you get seams going in both directions to make the diamond shape, so after trying one or two, I divided all of my blocks into pairs and then laid out two at a time to ensure that I had enough of each in the end.

Photo: a.squared.w

Another trick is to ensure that you trim the blocks properly. You need to allow for the fact that the angle for an HSR isn't as acute as for a HST, so your ruler is placed at the 1/8" mark atop the seam. I placed a dot on my ruler at 1/4" to help me see that my seam allowance was going to work. Again, once you get your head around it, easy peasy.

I had very little to trim from the width of a block and about a half an inch from each end to give me my 4 x 8" rectangles.

Sew four together and you are working with an 8" x 16" rectangle - HUGE compared to the size of blocks that I tend to navigate to!

Quilts for Survivors encourage quilters to incorporate orange into their quilts so it was the perfect excuse to use this little 'Stomp' print - duck footprints with the occasional word stomp scattered throughout.

This was a fun quilt to make and you can see from the HRT board that I've pinned there's lots more inspiration. So much potential!....M


Sunday, April 09, 2023

The Colours of Easter

We enjoyed our family Easter celebrations yesterday at my sister Betty's. She has been busy quilting her first of two Farmer's Wife quilts and it just continues to be more and more amazing. The colours are really suited for Easter too, so why not take a little peek?

The stitching is simple, following the outlines of the pieces in each block, and oh my, it so effective!

It is such an incredible mix of fabrics, and when you see it quilted it just accentuates the feel of being a tapestry. Luv.

And this little basket block continues to be a favourite. An Easter basket, perhaps?

If you are celebrating Easter this weekend I hope that it was a good one.....M

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Quilts for Survivors

My house has been a bit of a wreck this past month because I've been totally consumed with Quilts for Survivors. Begun in June 2021 by Vanessa Grenier from Missianabie Cree First Nation near Timmins, ON, they hope to send a comfort quilt to any residential school survivor that requests one or that one is requested for, as a symbol of support, respect and love. 

Vanessa and a quilt recipient (photo: Quilts for Survivors)

Quilters and guilds from across the country and around the world have responded in great numbers and almost 3,000 quilts have been sent out to date - not bad for an idea that started around Vanessa's kitchen table with the hopes of sending out possibly a dozen quilts. 

Vanessa regularly shares donations and updates on Facebook and it is extremely touching to see the response of those who receive their quilts. It's also been amazing to see people wanting to be involved. Recently, this post was shared about students from Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB, who have made a quilt which will be going to a survivor in the Maritimes. They were learning to quilt and decided to donate it to a survivor. Love it! (photo: Quilts for Survivors)

Quilts for Survivors are totally supported by donations (they are in the process of becoming a registered charity so that they can issue tax receipts for monetary donations). Additionally, a very generous landlord in Timmins has provided a studio space and a local quilt shop has donated a longarm machine, providing them with the ability to accept quilt tops for completion. How great is that?

To help achieve their goal, they are requesting:

•  16” quilt blocks (16.5” unfinished)

lap-sized tops (approx. 48” x 64”)

2.5” quilt binding, any colour

completed quilts, any size

financial donations to offset the cost of materials (thread, backing, batting) and shipping.

Note: we are asked not to include travel or school related fabrics or fabrics with a religious theme. 

Since late January, the quilters at my church have been getting together again for two mornings a week. I brought up the idea of donating the quilt that we were working on (the Lemoyne Star in the last two posts) and it has morphed into so much more. In addition to donating that quilt as part of our Truth and Reconciliation efforts, we will  contribute quilt blocks and tops, quilts and bindings, and encourage quilters from across the parish to do so as well. We plan is to have a shipment ready by early October. 

We've also set a goal to raise $600 through free will offerings donated during our Sunday Coffee Hours to assist with their shipping costs. I'm keen to see that our shipment is as generous as possible so I've been busy, busy, busy sewing and this is the first of three quilt tops that I'll be contributing. Hopefully there will be one or two more by the time we get to October, or maybe just blocks and binding. I'm also encouraging anyone who will listen to help out 😊. Check our their website for more info on how you can help if you are interested.

We are in the midst of a miserable ice storm here today so instead of going quilting I'm heading downstairs to do some sewing....M