Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A little of this and that

I hope you all had a fun and productive National Quilting Day on Saturday. My local quilt group hosted an all day quilt-a-thon. Of course I forgot my camera so I have no photos to show you other than my “Gooseberry Pie” blocks. 
I should be stitching them together soon!

While cleaning my sewing machine, I discovered a great way to keep bobbins and spools together. Yup, the simple Q-tip! 

And, saving the best for last… I know I have said it before, but quilters are the best! Karen (Log Cabin Quilter) asked me if I would want a few of her orphan blocks for my next "pot luck" quilt. Look at these!!! I have enough for an entire quilt right here. 
And, some of these applique blocks are just too nice to be lumped into a pot luck quilt so they will have a special home. Karen's generosity started me thinking of how much fun it would be to do a Blog swap of orphan blocks.  I think it would be fun to see what we all do with other quilter's "orphans. I'll have to ruminate for a while, but I would appreciate hearing how you feel about it.

Randy's (Barrister's Block) basket quilt for Cecile's (Patchwork Inspirations) basket sew-a-long was so inspirational! 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Quilty 365 Update

That’s right, Quilty 365, the quilt I started with Audrey (Quilty Folk) back in November 2016. If you remember we were to applique one block a day for 365 days. I can’t tell you how much I missed that when the last one was done!

I started hand quilting it in December of 2016. I had a great deal of the center finished before I left it sitting in a corner of the quilt annex for over a year! I decided I wanted to put it in our state show (Maine Quilts 2018) this summer, so I dug it out a few weeks ago. It looked like it wouldn’t take long to finish it, but it is funny how that perimeter is so much larger than the center!!

 I really love this quilt. I’ve decided to call it “Crop Circles” because it has over 700 different vintage feedsack fabrics in it.

Anyway, I finished the quilting but neglected so many other things. I really missed my Noah andMatilda applique. It had been almost a month since I made my last block. I finished block 3D this morning and it felt good to be back! 
The backing came from a friend who gave me 3 wonderful neon fabrics that I had never seen before.
Thanks Sue!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Foothills QAL - Gooseberry Pie

Here’s an update on MaryElizabeth Kinch’s Foothills quilt sew-a-long. Mary Elizabeth was so right when she said we can learn a lot about this quilt. Even though I changed the size of the blocks and the color scheme, I had fully intended to make each block in the same value as the original. Well, you can guess what happened. After 5 or six blocks I threw caution to the wind (actually, I lost the black and white photo) and simply grabbed fabrics and cut, cut, cut, stitch, stitch, stitch and before I knew it I had made 27 blocks. (I know there are only 25 in the quilt, but we had a few mishaps – my next “orphan quilt” box is filling up!)

I stuck to my original plan of “not” adding the obvious mistake in block #2. I decided instead to let it happen naturally and voila! (lesson #1!)

I think these geese were afraid to get caught in the pie so they flew the wrong way. Anyway, I like it so I am leaving it! 

I learned to be (somewhat) patient while trying to choose the backings for these little gems. And thus, something wonderful happened. While searching the net for photos of the gooseberry plant, I came across this little gem - a layer cake by Kansas Troubles called "Gooseberry Lane". I think they call this kismet! (lesson #2)
I learned about spacial relationships. I laid out all my blocks leaving a 1/2" space of red between them so I could see what they would look like when they were all bound and stitched together (think, potholder method). 
I wasn't sure I liked this so I set them further apart to emulate the original wide sashing. I'd have to add a 1" finished red strip around each one (before quilting and binding) to make it look more like the original. 
Hmm... I really like both settings, so now what? After a lot of contemplation, I decided I should really honor the original make by at least conforming to that nice wide sashing. I was just about to cut the little red strips when it dawned on me that a layer cake is 10" - my blocks finish 8 1/2" with binding so if I added an inch of width to each side (lesson #3 measure twice, cut once). So skinny red wins out.

Here is the first block, quilted and bound. 


So, what else did I learn? I learned that I definitely like this color scheme. When surrounded by fabulous 19th century fabrics I always gravitate toward the brights. By pairing the bright and colorful reds, purples and yellows with the warm browns I really felt it had earned its name! Can you smell pie?

Mary Elizabeth now has a Foothills QAL Facebook page (here). There are lots of wonderful renditions. People are really getting creative with their colors. And do visit her blog (Mary Elizabeth Kinch) to see her amazing blocks. Her color scheme is sensational.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Retail Therapy

I finally made a trip to Cyndi’s (Busy Thimble Quilt Shop) over the weekend. I used to go once a month, but this winter has been crazy!

Somehow, I managed to fit 36 half yard cuts into my car! I bought the entire line of Di Ford’s Maling Road. I absolutely love it. (And, yes, those are my 5" strips in the background. I cut a 5" strip off every piece of new fabric and place it in a box with over 5,000 of its closest friends.)
Look at this one.

One thing (and there are many) I love about Cyndi is that she never asks me “what are you going to do with it?” She knows (like herself) I am a hopeless fabric hoarder collector!

I promised myself when I left the driveway that I would NOT buy a book. The moment I walked in the door Cyndi handed me this treasure (a gift from her!).
If you don’t have it, I highly recommend it. It has some of the best close up photos of any quilt book. Delicious! 
Then, I spotted this
– well, let’s see, I have every other Betsy Chutchian book and I really didn’t want my other new book to be lonely in the car so…. I caved. I love every quilt in here. It is not inexpensive as it is published by Quiltmania, but it was well worth it to me (especially since it will be the last book I buy this year – wink!).

I suggest you grab a cup of your favorite beverage and scroll through Cyndi’s blog (Busy Thimble). What a treat!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Baskets with Cecile - Finis!

I had fun making these little “Cake Stand” - basket blocks in Cecile (Patchwork Inspirations) sew-a-long. It's hard to believe I actually finished on time!
The center is cut from Kayand Lori Lee Triplett’s fabulous fruit basket panel. They printed these in 3 sizes and I bought all three! To order one (or two or three) for yourself visit (here). This one is the 25" size. I experimented with a few layouts, but decided in the end to simply broderie perse the edge units around the hand appliqued center.
I hand quilted the center and machine quilted around the little cake stands. I used one of my favorite Di Ford fabrics on the back.

I’m calling this one “Fruitcake”. Thanks Cecile for a really fun sew-a-long. You can see all the wonderful variations on the Facebook page (here)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Mary Elizabeth Kinch - Foothills Quilt Challenge

When Mary Elizabeth Kinch posted this quilt as one of her 12 Days of Christmas quilts, I immediately fell in love with it. I can’t explain why as it is not my favorite color scheme and I don’t often like a wide sashing. It just caught my eye.

So, when she announced that she was going to do a sew-a-long with this one, I just couldn’t say no (I know, I need professional help).

I have decided to reduce the size of the block from 12" to 8" and – wait for it – yes, I am going to make it in the potholder method.

Although its palette is much more complex, it "reads" red, white and blue to me. Because I am in charge of "veteran's quilts" for our group, I use this color scheme a lot so I pondered different color choices. I was really tempted to do this in neons, but I thought my Noah and Matilda blocks might be jealous! As with all my potholder quilts, I started to conjure up names with some sort of cooking reference. Given that there are a lot of Flying Geese in these blocks I decided on “Gooseberry Pie”.

The color scheme reflects the colors of the gooseberry plant. Brown for the stems, bright green for the leaves, pink for the blossoms and red, purple, peach and soft yellow for the fruit. The plant is often a host for white pine rust. Since our state flower is the White Pine cone and tassel, it is illegal to plant gooseberries in Maine. In high school when our out of state friends were getting busted for growing “pot”, we were getting pinched for planting gooseberries!
Mary Elizabeth shows us how she makes her Flying Geese units (here). When I am making many in the same colorway, I usually piece them in a square in a square and trim them down to the size I need. 
When we were making our Stars in a Time Warp with Barbara Brackman a few years ago, she asked us to think like a 19th century quilter. I have tried to implement that in this sew-a-long with the carefree cutting of stripes and plaids and adding a little variety to each block (often a necessity in the 19th century, just plain fun in the 21st). I did not make the obvious mistake in block #2. No one makes more mistakes than me, but they are all quite by accident and I never leave them in the quilt (ah, o.k. once or twice when I didn't notice it until after it was quilted!).

Because I am doing this in such different colors from the original, I printed the photo of the quilt in black and white so I just need to be mindful of value. I'm not extremely happy with either block #1 or #2. I'll keep tweaking, so everything may change with the next few blocks!

Even if you are not up for the sew-a-long, you will enjoy reading Mary Elizabeth Kinch’s tutorial (here)She is a wonderful writer. Her Blog and her books are always fun to read. As she says in her post, "we can learn so much from this quilt". I've learned a lot already! Have fun!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Olympic Fever

These Olympic games are killing me! I enjoy every part of the winter Olympics except for the lack of sleep! I’m just not used to staying up so late.

My quilting has taken a back seat this past week, so I will show you a little quilt I made for my niece. I took the photo while at her house a while ago. I love it when the younger generation appreciates the finer things in life – like quilts of course! 

 I cannot remember where I got the center panel, but I surely would love to find another one. I love this quilt (and my niece!).

Hope you are enjoying these wonderful young people fulfill their dreams. I think every one of them deserves great admiration, whether they make it to the podium or not. Their grit and determination is amazing! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Evolution of February's mini quilt

Warning, short month - long story.

It’s ironic that February is the shortest month because I spent more time on this little quilt than any other mini quilt I have made!
While on a really fun trip with 4 of my seven quilting sisters I found this “frog” green fabric at Quintessentials in Auburn, Maine. 
Kathy said it really looked like me and since she is always right, I bought a yard. We were planning a bus trip to the shop again in 2 weeks and I decided to use this in my February mini so I could show the girls (and Betsy, the shop owner) what I did with it. 

I thought I would cheat a bit by using some hexie blocks that were already pieced. I have over 100 just sitting around waiting to be used so, why not? 
I love strippy quilts making the idea for the design and easy one. However, by not using one of those measuring things (you know – a ruler!), I mentally calculated the width of my strips and figured 4 hexies in each strip would suffice.
Yes, it probably would have had I actually measured it! So, by now you are getting the picture. Luckily I had cut the background large enough to add an extra hexagon on each strip. 
I had picked out this fabulous fabric from the Mechant’s Wife line by Terry Clothier Thompson. It was a wonderful line of fabrics based on a c1840 antique quilt top she found in Maine.
Realizing that now would be a good time to pick up a ruler, I carefully cut each strip making sure that some of the green was still evident. 
I hand appliqued the hexies to the background and pieced the strips together. I split a piece of Dream Wool in half and used a fabulous pillar print from Di Ford on the back. I have to say that Di Ford’s fabrics are to die for (no pun intended!). 

I even had enough of it to match the triangle corners for hanging.
 After I hand quilted the hexie strips I decided that the proportion was just not right. It really needed to be wider.
So… out comes the ruler again and I made 40 little 1” finished half square triangle to add to either side.
It was lucky (since it surely wasn’t planned) that the backing piece was large enough to accommodate the added width.

Because I wanted to finish this before the bus trip I decided to machine quilt the alternate strip and the half squares triangles.
While auditioning fabrics for the binding, I felt that the white outline on the Merchant’s Wife fabric was a bit too stark. I thought about dying the entire thing, a  risky maneuver! I experimented with coffee and with Rit beige dye. 
But, since the entire project began with this delicious bright green, I really didn’t want to dampen it. I thought about filling in the white edges with a gold-ish Pigma pen. Ah, nope, I’m calling it good enough!

I am happy to say that Kyle (Timeless Reflections), Barbara (Quilts Gravestones and Elusive Ancestors)  and Janet (Rogue Quilter) have joined in the fun. Visit Kyle’s post (here) and Barbara’s post (here).  And, see Janet's post (here) for her January quilt and a wonderful tutorial on mini quilts! I am really looking forward to round two!

I will work on figuring out how to link up by the end of next month so if any of you want to join us you can jump right in!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Baskets with Cecile for February

Once again, I have bitten off a bit more than I should be chewing this month so I am happy that I decided to keep these little baskets simple. 

We were to make a minimum of 8 blocks per month in January and February so, of course I made the minimum!

Please visit Cecile’s Blog (Patchwork Inspirations) and her Facebook page to see all the wonderful little baskets!

Stay tuned for the big “reveal” of the quilt in March.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Noah and Matilda Back posting

I am either working on too many projects or not enough! I am really enjoying the Noah and Matilda sew-a-long (visit the Facebook page here). I am making them in numerical order to ensure that I WILL make all of them and not just the easy ones. For some reason I skipped right to block 2D last week and missed posting these two.

Block 6C was another favorite of mine. I love the crazy shape of this “flower?”. I used an antique fabric for the background and it was so thin that I was afraid it might bleed through to the backing, but it turned out to be just fine.

Block 1D is a bit skimpy for my taste. I like a robust wreath with chunky petals (I can’t wait to get to 5D – nice big petals in the flower!). I did add one petal to make the alternate cheddar and yellow colors work out symmetrically and I added the little neon circle in the center.
The backing on this one is one of my favorite neons (I seem to be saying that a lot about these super neons!).
So, back to work and I’ll try to post them in order!