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!