Saturday, May 27, 2023

A Bit of Whimsy

Jane's most recent quilt top is light and airy, with a touch of improv and a soft blue/teal vibe that is totally soothing.

She used a bundle of summery fabrics that just make you smile. Like these happy little pups.

And retro lawn chairs in both coral...

and black.

And how about these fun camper vans? Remind you of the Jetsons?

The centre is constructed of a simple randomly placed three-piece block with muted greys, greens and bright yellows taking centre stage (I've cropped this a little squarer than the block really is - it's a little more rectangular).

In addition to rectangles in the borders, top and bottom she has included a funky large black and white polka dot which just elevates the whole thing in a great way and works so well with the beautiful large floral that surrounds it. Can you tell that she had fun making this one? 

We've been displaying the Quilts for Survivors quilt tops that have been donated so far after our service every Sunday during coffee hour so that more people can see what we've been up to and to encourage them to donate a bit towards shipping costs, so tomorrow it's this one's turn to shine....M

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Spring Binding and a Little Rhubarb

Diamond Dust
is back from Roberta and ready to be trimmed and bound. I'm thinking that I'll use the same mauve as that gorgeous floral border.

It's quilted with Pergola again and the texture of this panto is to die for...

the perfect foil against all those tiny squares. A little bit of hand stitching is a relaxing way to enjoy the weekend.
It's the May long weekend and, just like clockwork, my rhubarb is ready, so I've been taking full advantage of this seasonal treat. We enjoyed a visit with a cousin that I haven't seen for more years than I care to admit, so it seemed only fitting to make that the reason for the season's first Rhubarb Torte.
There weren't any leftovers so the next day I whipped up a Lemon Rhubarb Bundt Cake, which I haven't made in a while, and we have been savouring that for the last few days. There's still a  Rhubarb Scone recipe that I'd like to try. Who am I kidding? It's a bumper crop this year so there's a looong list of treats to be tested. It's a rough life 😉....M

Thursday, May 18, 2023

It's Pineapple Season

Since our sewing bee on Friday I've been going great guns trying to finish up my Pineapple Blossom blocks, and having tons of fun doing it. I love this block!

I've been using a Bonnie Hunter tutorial from 2005 (no one can accuse me of being on the bleeding edge of quilting trends!). She had originally designed it for a 9-inch block but then updated it for 2.5" strips so you can make a 12" block; this is what I chose.

All of those pinks and oranges together is really floating my boat - so bright and cheery, and scrappy, of course!

I chose to include a variety of low volume prints for the block centres and the 'geese' flying to the corners, and I like the extra bit of interest that provides.

Since Saturday was such a beautiful day here and my machine hadn't yet made it back downstairs, I took full advantage and set things up on the kitchen table with a great view of the yard. A few hours later they were all done.

The trimming from all of those sew and flip corners left me with 80 3.5" HSTs that have a funky little corner tossed in for good measure. 

Bonnie made pinwheels with hers; not sure what to do with mine yet, but they will be here when I do.

I was particularly tickled that this little rose was not consigned to the waste basket.

Tuesday things got a little tossed in the air with scheduling. As luck would have it, my machine was still upstairs. So I set it up again, tried a layout on the floor, and it was together before lunch time. Woo hoo!

I really like this one. It's been such a treat to sew.....M

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Many Hands

I feel like I have as small army of quilters busy creating quilt tops for Quilts for Survivors (probably because I do!); it's so wonderful to see how all of my quilting buddies are into. On Friday three of us got together for a day of sewing and to work our collective selves into a bit of a lather over all the additional flimsies we could potentially make.

A few years back Anne made these trees blocks using the Tole Christmas pattern (it's a free download from Moda) for a fundraiser to help folks in Australia who were ravaged by wildfires, so she wanted to make a complete quilt this time around. They are fun and when made up scrappy the variety of fabrics makes for a beautiful forest.

I had spent a few days prepping green and teal strips and she cut the whites, so we were ready to get the pedals to the metal right from the get go. Jane used her talents to keep us moving things along - prepping layouts for the trees as strips came together. 

You make the trees in two halves, a left and a right side. We agreed that the pattern could be rewritten to use a single strip of white and a single green rather than several different sized whites in the same strip, to simplify things.

Anne is a painter so we used her easel, which is on wheels, to hold her small design wall; it was perfect! Might need one of these....

Being able to see four blocks at a time (they finish at 14" x 16") was a big help in ensuring that the location of the strips was a random as possible.

Jane was also kept busy drawing diagonal lines and assembling colour combinations for me. It make such a huge difference when you can just sit down and sew and press and have all of that organizational work done for you - perfect when production is the name of the game.

I had cut pink and orange strips and neutral squares for a pattern that I believe is called Pineapple Blossom, another scrappy one. After several were together I switched over to trees as they took longer to assemble, which allowed us to see real progress on that front; by the end of the day strips for all 12 blocks were made and half of the blocks were sewn together. Many hands really do make light work.

I'll share more about my quilt the next time around....M

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Good Things Happen Fast

Have you heard the saying, "Good things happen fast"? It certainly seems to apply to my Irish Change quilt as each step seems to be moving along in leaps and bounds. 

This morning I picked it up from Roberta so now all that is left to do is the binding. I have a very little bit of the paisley left over and have my fingers tightly crossed that it will be enough.

The quilting is just beautiful (a panto called Pergola) and shows up so nicely on the chain blocks...

with leafy tendrils winding their way across the quilt and adding wonderful texture to the paisley squares.

It looks equally fantastic on the back with the polka dots scattered throughout the design. Time to get it trimmed up and settle in for some relaxing hand stitching....M

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Oh Happy Day!

Well, I broke with tradition this week and finished up a quilt in just over a week!

It's the Irish Change that I started for my friend. Knowing myself only too well, I was determined that this not be one that got started and then languished on the chair for months on end (possibly years!), so I kept my head down and saw to it that all of the blocks got made in good order.

Sunday I headed to the lake for a day with Jane so we had two machines humming all day - she worked on a Quilts for Survivors project and I plugged away at getting my flimsy together.

The only surprise in all of it was finding that I had six blocks left over at the end of the day. Whaaaat? I had followed my chart religiously so as not to mess up the rows, because each row had either light or dark borders on the blocks, but there they were, six perfectly good blocks with no place to go. 

I am blaming my poor layout illustration skills. I think that I counted some of my border blocks, which are two thirds the size of a full block, as a full block. Oh well, better too many than too few. They may become runners for the Holly Bazaar down the road.

Love that paisley; it creates such a softness to the overall quilt and is a nice contrast to the crisp lines of the blocks.

Monday I was up bright and early and got busy adding the borders and by the afternoon it was with Roberta for quilting. As luck would have it, I had recently picked up a soft yellow polka dot backing and I think that it's going to be perfect. The bonus? My friend loves polka dots.....M

Monday, May 01, 2023

Irish Change

I have been making up the pattern for my Irish Chain quilt as I go, using various sources for inspiration, including a tutorial from Jenny Doan at the Missouri Star Quilt Company which helped me determine the block size: 9.5" finished. She called this particular pattern Irish Change because it was a riff on the original pattern, so I'm going with that.

Jenny uses strip sets throughout to speed things up and I tried to do that as much as possible as well, but one yellow fabric has a directional pattern, the faintest white stripe with polka dots. I didn't do the math ahead of time for the total quantity of each print that I would need (I was just happy to have found coordinating prints with pieces 'that felt heavy enough' and started cutting) so I wasn't always making strip sets because I wanted to ensure that my stripes were always perpendicular to the centre mauve square. 

Over the past week I have been sewing up a storm. There are two different versions of the pieced block, one with the dark fabric in the outer edge (above) and the second with the light on the outside edge. I just broke up the task by the number of blocks/rounds in each and made great progress sewing an hour here and an hour there.

The outer edge is made of up of three quarter sized blocks, which I really liked, so I drafted a sketch of the layout and cutting instructions to help keep me on track.

The name Irish Change got me to thinking about a clip from one of Leonard Cohen's 2013 concerts in Dublin, Ireland. He was such a Canadian icon and it's wonderful to see how the audience just totally overtakes the singing of So Long Marianne and how he's so taken aback by it all. Love the Irish! Every time I watch it I'm taken back to a concert in Ottawa where I saw him. LUV! This song was running through my mind as I sewed (and maybe there was a little humming/harmony happening on my end too 😉)....M