Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Moving Mountains

One of the things that I'd read about assembling the blocks for Scrappy Mountain Majesties was to not press the seams until you have your final layout so that it's easier to nest them when you sew your rows together. Just about killed me initially, but once I got onto it I was happy for the speed that it provided. And, it worked like a charm when things had to come together.

At Linda's a few weeks ago, Jane and I quickly assembled two slightly different layouts before heading home.

Not wanting to mix up the rows, I grabbed a marker and some painter's tape from Linda and quickly made some labels. There are prettier markers, but they weren't going to be in use that long so no big deal. The challenge was that the tape had lost much of it's stickiness and was prone to falling off.

Since I was pinning them in place anyway, I took an old envelope, cut some scalloped circles and quickly cut two sets. Worked like a charm. Aren't they sweet? 

And they stayed on much better, which was a huge help because even though the quilts are scrappy there was a certain flow that I wanted to maintain.

With all of those seams to join in each row I had expected that putting the tops together would be a long, drawn out process but 

The layout shown above is totally scrappy. Our options were more limited the second time around because there are decidedly left and right facing blocks, so this one we paired as many as we could and then where we didn't have a match we inserted a similar colour. They are very similar but I think I prefer this one.

They need a good press but both are now finished, so I can happily add them to the pile....M

Sunday, September 24, 2023


Every now and then it becomes glaringly apparent that I have OCD tendencies, and this quilt is just another example. I am so keen on ensuring that our shipment to Quilts for Survivors is as full as it can be that in early August I decided that a Scrappy Mountain Majesties needed to be added to the pile. With Bonnie Hunter's tutorial in hand, I did a really quick pull of lots of brights and a handful of neutrals and I was off!

It was a good excuse to work in some fabrics that I've had hanging around and I don't think that I have ever used, like this green.

Love this combo too. I've got tons of both of those fabrics so maybe another quilt down the road, but I digress.

I started out making both sides of my mountains carbon copies of each other but quickly realized that mixing things up could be lots of fun. I also realized that I had cut enough for about one and half quilts, so I just kept going so that there would be a pair. Story of my life lately.

There was the requisite trimming, but it went fairly quickly.

And soon the pile grew....M

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Passionate Handcrafters

There's a masterpiece in the making at Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg, and it's been in the works since 2019. Their talented interpreters have been working tirelessly, stitching a quilt that captures the essence of the site to celebrate their 60th anniversary. 

Founded in 1961, Upper Canada Village is one of the largest living history sites in Canada. They endeavor to depict life in a rural English Canadian setting during the year 1866. Over 40 historical buildings, many moved there prior to flooding of The Lost Villages during the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway, include homes, functioning mills and trades workshops.

This stunning quilt showcases the wonderful heritage homes and buildings throughout the Village, along with some familiar faces and beloved animals. 

Amazingly intricate details, vibrant colours, and heartwarming stories are stitched into every block. (The woman in blue has a crinoline!) Currently they are focused on quilting a scallop border and intricate cross hatching.

It is a testament to the passion, creativity and dedication of their interpreters who are taking it slow and steady to ensure that every stitch is perfect. 

Apparently this block depicts the woman who designed the quilt. How clever to include her too!

And take a closer look at the quilting frame. Holes are drilled at intervals and the frames kept in place with a large wooden stake as the quilt is rolled. Both beautiful and brilliant, and much easier than fiddling with clamps. Not sure what purpose the two sets of three stakes on either end of the quilt serve but I suspect that they are helping keep it stretched.

The Village is celebrating their fall fair this weekend; it would be the perfect time to see this incredible work of art up close and personal at the Ross Farm....M

Photos: Upper Canada Village

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The More They Sew, The Behinder I Get

With everyone around me busy chipping in for Quilts for Survivors these days it's been tough to keep up with sharing their work, so today we'll do a bit more of that.

First up, this beautiful flimsy made by Linda. The colours are just perfect for autumn and she is hoping that with it's muted tones and checks that it will be gifted to one of the male survivors who submit a request.

We had a bit of a sewing bee a couple of weeks ago so I was able to help her with it. All of the blocks were ready to press, we just had to get organized and assemble the rows. By the end of the day it was a fait accompli. So cozy.

The blocks finish up at just a little over 6" square so it's a winner when you want to highlight beautiful fabrics like she has used. 

I recognized several from Thimbleberries but she pulled in lots of variety.

This is also a terrific pattern for a charity quilt because it comes together so quickly. Linda enjoyed hand stitching the corners over the summer and then we pieced the rest of it by machine. I love how those corners so easily translate into a diagonal pattern. 

And then Jane pulled out this beauty that she had made several years ago and wondered aloud if we could make it into two smaller quilts. Not the best pic because I was shooting into the windows, but it does give you a sense of the flimsy as a whole. It's a large quilt, larger than she needs, so she was prepared to give it a new life. Such a wonderful idea!

Many of the prints in it are from Mary Engelbreight - lots of red and black and yellow - and she added in several funky additions.

You can spend a lot of time getting lost just exploring all of the different colour combinations. Those tiny cherries are so Mary.

A simple block where the colour combos make it interesting.

The piano key borders are equally funky.

So we ripped it in two, removed some of the borders and she went home to rework it in time for our deadline later this month. 

These quilts will be welcome additions to the pile and I know that all of those bright colours will cheer a couple of folks up when they show up in their mail....M

Thursday, September 07, 2023

The Struggle Was Real

I like to think of myself as someone who works well under pressure, but that didn't seem to be working much for me this past weekend. 

On deadline to produce a 12" block for the Carp Fair's Community Quilt Block Challenge, it was time to get started. I'd been looking at the fabrics every day for a few months but just not getting any inspiration. All of my choices relied on more background fabric than I have and it was proving tough to switch gears. The struggle was real.

But, it was time to make something - anything! - so I landed on a modified Bear Paw. I checked the math to ensure that I could make eight HSTs at a time and made a test just to confirm that my dimensions were correct. Good thing, as I was half an inch too large, so I scaled things back. With the fabric restrictions I just was so leery of making a wrong cut.

I laid everything out very carefully so that my seams would nest nicely all around the block (do I sound paranoid?) and in no time it was ready... 

though I have to say that there was a fair bit of lunch bag letdown when it was.

Despite a little voice in my head (one of several 😉) I used the bees for the large centre squares because I wanted to see the bees, but the dark batik that I used for the claws would have been better there. Should have following my gut. 

Or, I could have switched the placement of the gold dot and the darker of the two creams used in the coordinating HSTs. Not surprisingly, I spent all night dreaming of patterns that would have been better suited.

By the next morning it wasn't looking quite as bad as I had imagined, but still nothing to write home about. Ah well, hopefully it plays well with others. Ironically, I realized that last year I also made a Bear Paw block, but it was much scrappier. I much prefer a four patch in place of those large squares.

Betty's block is very different to mine and very charming: a beautiful little schoolhouse set in the centre of radiating strips, and it's hand pieced. It has a scrappiness that I just love and will be a wonderful addition to the quilt. 

This was her inspiration. You can see how she mapped out the making of her schoolhouse and ultimately, the block. I much prefer the small pieces in her block to the sizes that I used. Apparently her block was not without it's challenges either - she ripped things out a few times and pressed her seams as she went, something she never does when she hand pieces.
It's a real charmer, reminiscent of a farmhouse and the rural community that hosts and attends the fair. Jean was tickled with both of them so that's all that matters....M

Monday, September 04, 2023

It's Fall Fair Season

It's fall fair season here in the Ottawa Valley and one that has a long and storied tradition is the Carp Fair, which has been running since 1863. Known as the Best Little Fair in Canada, it is organized by a small army of volunteers, none the least of which is our good friend Jean. This year her duties include organizing the quilt show and the Community Quilt Blocks competition. Time to buy some fabric!

She is not a quilter so she reached out to Betty and I for a little help. At the end of May we all got together and did a little shopping. She decided on the theme of Summers' End.
I offered to cut the bundles she needed (I think there were 24 parcels of 10" blocks) and she got busy circulating them. In a matter of a few short days they were all spoken for, so no need to spend weeks flogging them. Little wonder, as they are beautiful. The blocks will be used to make a quilt or quilted items to be raffled at the 2024 fair.
I had such good intentions, but it was not to be. In my mind's eye the star in the Missouri Star Quilt Company's logo was just the ticket - love it - but I was going to be short of cream for the background. So disappointing.

to the rescue! This looked like it would work, and it was for a 12" block. Bonus! But, when I started looking at the fabric requirements I was back to the same issue: not enough background fabric. 
Regardless of how much I tried there's only so much that you are going to get out of a 10" square of fabric. I toyed with incorporating another gold into the corner pieces but it just wasn't working for me.
So it sat. And as time marched on my window kept closing. We're meeting Jean tomorrow to hand in our creations so time's up! Stay tuned to see where we landed....M