Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March Monthly Mini


As you may recall, last May I requested orphan blocks for our “Community Supper” quilt. Some of you sent more than one block so I could choose which to use. Luann (Luann’s Loose Threads) sent 2 blocks, which I used front and back (here) and she also sent a stack of indigo and chocolate fabrics printed in South Africa. I have been ruminating on these gorgeous fabrics ever since. 

 I’ve been inspired by Cynthia’s (Wabi Sabi Quilts) boro style mini quilts for a long time. And, when Barb (Fun with Barb) made her January mini in the boro style (here), the lightbulb finally went on and I dug out these fantastic fabrics to make one of my own. 

I pillow cased the edges and then laid the pieces out and simply stitched over them. 

 When I showed the fabrics to Barb (via Zoom), she said they were called Swhe Shwe fabrics, so I quickly looked them up.

 These fabrics are sometimes called 'Three Cats' - a reference to the distinctive logo stamped on the back of the fabric. Originally, Shwe Shwe was produced in Manchester for export to South Africa. Today, it is made in South Africa by Da Gama Textiles. Traditionally, Shwe Shwe was always indigo, with the occasional red or chocolate brown design. 

 This fabric is on the stiff side so my fingers are a bit sore from pulling the chunky thread through. As you can see my stitching is very organic. The pillowcase edging was a bit of a challenge with such a thin piece of wool batting, but it was a good learning experience. It was fun trying a new method. 

I found a fun map of regional fabrics from the different countries in Africa.  

I was going to call it “Shwe Shwe” because I love the sound of those words, but I thought it more fitting to honor both the style and the fabrics so I’m calling it “East Meets South”. Besides, I have enough fabric left over for one or possibly two more minis, so I’ll save that name for another day. 

 Thanks a million, to Cynthia, Barb and Luann for inspiring this fun monthly mini!

 Now let’s see what my fellow quilters have created. There are some gems this month! Please let me know if I have missed anyone. You are always welcome to join the mini party!

 Quilting Babcia (Amity Quilter)

Randy (Barrister’s Block)

Cathy (Big Lake Quilter)

Barb (Fun with Barb)

Gladi (Gladi’s Quilts)

Shasta (High Road Quilter)

Robin (I Like to Create) 

Julie (Julie K Quilts)

Kathy (Kathy’s Quilts)

Katy (Katy Quilts)

Sandy (My Material Creations)

Angie (Quilting on the Crescent)

Barbara (Quilts, Gravestones and Elusive Ancestors)

Janet (Rogue Quilts)

Kyle (Timeless Reflections)

Cynthia (Wabi-Sabi Quilts)

Monday, March 22, 2021

"Full Circle" Finis!

 My “curves” theme quilt-a-long with Cecile and Corinne is finished. 

 The border gave me a few fits in the corners, but I was eventually able to fudge those curves enough so that from a distance they don’t look half bad! 

I underestimated the backing width by ¼” (yes 1 quarter inch!) and so had to improvise. 

This close up shows the true colors of the backing. Merchants Wife from Terry Clothier Thompson. 

 I contemplated using Barb’s Baptist Fan stencil (order one here) which would have fit the “curves” theme nicely. However, I really wanted those happy circles to “pop”, so I hand quilted around each one with smaller circles at the intersections. In the end, I decided to just “pop” the border circles too along with the serpentine curve. It’s a soft, squishy quilt and I love it.

 And, some great news. When I submitted the 20 quilts for my New England Quilt Museum exhibit, this quilt was still in the planning stage. When I finished it, I truly wished I had been able to display it with the others. First, because I adore it and second because it contains some of my favorite “Pilgrim Roy” neon fabrics. Gerald Roy has graciously loaned quilts (Yellow and Orange) from the Pilgrim Roy collection that will be at the museum at the same time as mine. So, when Pam (Pamela Weeks, Curator, NEQM) asked me on Friday if I might have one more quilt available for a space less than 50”, I was elated! I popped it in the mail today and it will be there waiting for me when I finally make the trip down.

Thank you, Cecile and Corinne for another wonderful and really fun sew-a-long challenge. Please visit Cecile’s Blog (here) and their FB page (here) for some delightful eye candy.

I'm linking up with Judy (Small Quilts and Doll Quilts) Monday design wall. Click on the link to see all the great Monday projects.


Friday, March 19, 2021

The Driving Force

 A question was asked on the “Road to California” Facebook page; “How long have you been quilting?”. I will always remember the first quilt I made. It was a crazy quilt made from scraps of cotton, wool, velvet, whatever I could get my hands on. I wanted something I could take out to our little playhouse in the woods and not worry about getting dirty because it was “all mine”. I was 9 years old. The scary part was when I answered the question, I realized that it was 56 years ago!

 If I had listened to the criticisms (you can’t use all those different materials in the same quilt it just won’t work) of my 4-H leader at the time, I might never have made another quilt. But, my childhood neighbor, Arzetta Poole, revived my interest in quilts and quiltmaking. She was the reason I made quilt number 2 and the hundreds after that. She was and always has been the driving force behind every quilt I make. 

Sadly, this is the only photo I have of her (on the far right).

She is sitting next to the Dodge sisters who lived on our road as well. Their claim to fame was that they ran the smallest Post Office in the country out of their chicken coop. I had a wonderful childhood!

Reading the wonderful posts of Michele McLaughlin (Pennsylvania Piecemaker) I realized there must have been hundreds of quilters in the past who inspired young people to make and enjoy quilts. Michele continues to post very informative and most enjoyable articles on quilts and quiltmakers. Do visit her bog (here).

 I feel fortunate to have had such a wonderful mentor. I would love to hear about who inspired you to become a quilter.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

When the Sun Comes Out...


On Saturday my local “Kaleidoscope” group met on the sidewalk by the town gazebo. We all brought the community quilts we had been working on over the past few months. We filled many bins with quilts and pillowcases for many of our local charities. Of course. I did not take any photos. I know, I keep saying I will get better but…

 So, I pulled these wonderful photos off the group e-mail that our Co President Ann sent out. Thanks Ann!

 These are all form my “Seven Sistahs” group (unfortunately 2 of us were missing). Christina (Tina to me), made this sweet one in just my colors!

Not to be outdone, Charlotte used every color of the rainbow for this gem. 

Kathy made several for one charity or another.

This was my favorite of Kathy's.

And Karen went over the top with her version of Covid 19. Just when you thought there was nothing to smile about in 2020, she came up with this. Love it. 

 You can see what the temperature was by our attire. This is me handing over fabric for more pillow cases.

Needless to say, we didn’t hang out long. The 5 of us headed over to Panera for lunch. Even though we kept our distance, it was strange to be in a restaurant again. I felt like I had landed here from another planet.

 We got our first vaccine today and I am in hopes that things will be better by Fall. In the meantime, I’ll do what I can for the safety of the world by staying in my sewing room!!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Sarah's Wedding Quilt


My daughter’s sweet friend Sarah got married on Saturday. They did a “live stream” of the wedding and I wish I could show you the photos that my daughter showed me on her phone. Sarah wore her grandmother’s wedding dress and vintage stole and her husband wore a top hat and tails. So elegant!

 Anyway… I finished their wedding quilt yesterday. Simple yet functional. My daughter said – make it long (they are both tall) and use lots of green and turquoise. 

 Well, as you can see, I was able to fill the “green” part, but as I dug through my substantial stash, I realized I had very little turquoise or teal. I had to improvise and throw what I did have in with other blues. I used a warm wool batting (for cold Maine nights) and just quilted straight-ish vertical lines. All that really matters is that it makes a nice snuggle quilt.

 Hope you get some fun stitching in today!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Lucky me!

 I was so surprised when Kyle (Timeless Reflections) e-mailed me to say that I had won one of her fantastic “project bags”. It is absolutely beautiful! Now I will have no trouble “remembering” which project is in the bag! And, she snuck in a sweet star quilt pattern as well. Thanks Kyle! 

 I was also lucky to find this lost block this weekend.

I use a very complicated pressing system when trying to flatten a block with tiny pieces. 

Yes, these oversize quilt books serve more than one purpose in my sewing room. Anyway, I was looking something up on Saturday and lo and behold this block popped out from underneath the book. It was for this quilt back in December. You can read about it (here)

 Funny, I remember thinking that I had just miscounted when I ended up needing to make one more block. So… the pressing system only works if you remember where you put it.

 They say the wind chill factor is 25 below zero this morning. At 5 degrees with gusts of 50 mph, I am inclined to agree with them. Hope you are warm and cozy where you are. Have fun today.