Friday, May 29, 2015

Hands2Help Charity Quilt

This sweet little quilt is going to the Canadian charity Because You Matter.

I posted about how the design evolved here.

I know I will be making another, not sure if it will be in time to send off with this one though, but rotating every other strip set block to create a woven effect. This was suggested by a couple of readers, and I think it is a great idea!  It was too late (and I was too lazy to unpick the already-sewn blocks) when I got the suggestions.

I did something I've never done before on this quilt, as well as something I haven't done for some time.

Something I've never done before is stitch in the ditch on my Bernina before loading it onto my Avanté. I've read that Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict does this fairly regularly.  I wanted needed to on this quilt because I had "Franken-batted" the batting a fair bit!
Empty bag!!! A good thing.  I mainly used this batting (that's 3 quilts in a row, all for charity) and various smaller pieces of it and some Warm 'n Natural for this quilt. No affiliation. It's just a lovely soft, drapes-well batting. :-)

A few of the back with the vertical lines ditch-stitched

And the front: I stitched vertically on either side of the columns of strips blocks, as well as in the ditch between the border and the quilt top
From here I loaded it onto the Avanté, once I trimmed the bottom edge and made sure the top edge was square. 
Top edge pinned the first time...
Then realized the bottom edge wasn't squared, so unloaded, squared it, then reloaded.  When will I learn/remember?

Ready to quilt!
And tout fini!  Something I haven't done for some time is single fold binding.  I had no choice; I had mere inches left of the pink text fabric. 

I thought the backing I'd picked up might be a little too strong for the softness of the front, but now it's done, I think it's fine!  It's a really soft, albeit a little light in weight, cotton.
So today after I'd washed and dried it, I took a few more pictures since it was sunny and not storming!
 All kinds of crinkly quilty awesome-ness in the bright sun
close-up in the shade - can you see the word I randomly quilted?  "hugs"
I did a loops and leaves and flower all-over meander
I was surprised just how hard it was NOT to echo-quilt the stars or dot-to-dot quilt the geese, and not do swirls in that lovely white negative space...but time is of the essence, so all-over meander it had to be!
I really love the batting, I may have said that before, and this soft backing just makes for such a soft and snuggly quilt.  Hopefully the snuggles, softness, and healing thoughts of comforting a child that I had while stitching this all will be felt when whoever is the recipient holds onto this.

This is all that's left!
I never did use the bottom novelty fabric in this one, but I'm sure it will find its way into yet another quilt.  I'm very happy that I put such a dent in the leftover strips and pieces from the original quilt.

Stay tuned for a pattern for how to make this quilt.

Quilt Stats:
Size: 38.5X42"
Pattern: Original design
Fabrics: scraps from my stash + purchased backing
Batting: the majority is Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton scraps + a couple pieces ofWarm 'n Natural
Threads: pieced with Gutermann; quilted with Robison Anton Rayon
Quilted on my Bernina (ditch-stitched) and FMQ on my Avanté

Linking up:
Can I Get A Whoop! Whoop!
Finish It Up Friday
See the buttons on the sidebar! Lots of inspiration.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Have My Cake and Eat it Too

I wrote this earlier today, and then life happend and so did a few thunderstorms... so here we go:

Today is a red-letter day for me.

I used to think two things about aging:
1.  that I would NEVER live to be FORTY
2.  that I would NEVER live to see the year 2000

(because the world would probably end by then.)

Well, I made it.

And then some.

Today my very first pension cheque from the teaching profession, albeit only half a full pension amount, got deposited into our bank account. I also used to believe in the early years of teaching, that I would quit by 50 because that is just SO OLD, and I need time to do all the things I want to do! Well, I'm a few years past that "old" age (it's so not old!) and I feel much the same as I did at about age 28-30; however, I'd like to think maybe a little more wisdom and serenity have settled upon me.

So we bought these two beauties to celebrate:
Note the shrapnel from a couple of the storms that passed through! These two got a little drenched.  Mandevilla vines.

Maybe I'll take my husband out for supper as a further celebration.

Or maybe we'll stay home and enjoy a homemade supper with maybe a second glass of wine for moi!  Rebel.
(We did, and I did.)

What do I mean by the title of this post?
Of the 30 years of teaching I did, from age 22-52, several were part-time years.  This allowed me to stay home for all, or chunks, of the days when my girls were babies and growing up.  I had the best of both worlds:  mummy time (SO many good memories abound), but also adult time, (SO many friendships made with both colleagues and students and still kept today), validation that I was contributing to the good in the world by teaching young people, yet validation that I was able to spend a decent amount of time, IMHO, with my daughters.  Yes, I only get half of what I could have got, had I, either not been part-time, or taught until age 61.  I don't mind; I have my sanity, my health, my optimism!

I wouldn't change a thing.

I managed to snap a quick photo or two on the porch of the Hands2Help quilt I finished this afternoon.  It was raining pretty hard at the time!

More tomorrow once I've washed it.  Here is the back:

Today is also a red-letter day because I am about to upload a pattern of mine that has been accepted...more on that pretty soon!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Heart Is Full

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

~Mahatma Gandhi                        

This weekend:
Clematis at Dayna's
Fresh from a local greenhouse
Last night:
H2H quilt top is done

Rhododendrons in Amherstburg

Incredible sunset (this does not do it justice) over the Detroit River, Amherstburg
Just to relate this to quilting, as if the colours are not enough, Amherstburg was the last stop on the Underground Railroad to Canada and freedom, quilts hung over porch railings or on clotheslines with symbols sewn in to safely lead the way.

This morning:
7 am:  Greeted by...a cardinal, (that brilliant red spark by the stained glass sun?) his mate in the tree above him. The lower red spot is a quince flower
Rocco soaking up the love of these adorable munchkins, who he ADORES; they don't see his breed, just a loveable soft doggie
That's a beach picnic and toys wrapped up in that quilt!!
Made by her oma, the girl told me this quilt sadly got literally eaten (shades of Nugget, no names mentioned) by her dog in one spot.  It's all handquilted, such bright happy fabrics.

More bright happy
and icing on the cake, shortly after I got home from our walk, this arrived!
Perfect!  (uh, notice the Rocco photo-bomb again?
I won this in Julie's (Pink Doxies) giveaway a few weeks ago, for linking up on her Pet Project Saturday.  It is BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL.  Colour choices, fabrics, FMQ and workwomanship.  It looks just terrific on the cream loveseat against the wheat-coloured walls.

Can you get the sense of just how round and fat my happiness bubble is...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It Started With This...

This is in Pam and Nicky Lintott's Two From One Jelly Roll Quilts, a book I took out of our guild library.  I thought it might work as my Hands2Help quilt for the Canadian charity, Because You Matter.

But I had this

The strips on the right are left from my over-zealous cutting for Maren's quilt.  I suddenly saw blocks of strips as the star centres rather than the 4-patch.  Pulled out the graph paper, and drew this

pieced, dug for some white fabric, dug out more scraps from Maren's quilt, and put this on the design wall:

I experimented with two different squares for the flying geese method I wrote a tutorial for here.  It's rather freeing to do a quilt for charity, with no pressure.  Let's see, I thought, what would happen if I used two different colours for the squares...could I get two-coloured geese wings?

First I laid two pink squares across the background white one.

Sewed, cut, pressed as per the tutorial.  Added the purple ones

Sewed, cut, pressed and squared to this

Kewl!  as my sister Linda would say/write.  It worked!  You get 2 identical pairs, so 2 with the purple on the left and the pink on the right and 2 the opposite.

I also by accident found another layout for the pieces in this quilt:
A rather happy accident!
I like them both!  But if I do this arrangement, I would need to either make another column of the strip set blocks and geese, or make big borders because it's only 30" wide.  I love the diagonal movement though... What about you?  I think...hmmm, I think that will keep for another quilt as I want this one to be about 40" square, and with a 2" border it will be just that!  Perfect for a child to grab, hug, or put on her lap.

Now to remake the same pattern, but in boys' fabrics!  Remember the stacks of strips at the beginning of this post?  Those on the left are left over from Brady's  I Spy quilt.

Whatever layout I choose for the girl, I will do the other layout for the boy.

Outside of a piece of cotton for the backing fabric for this first quilt which I picked up yesterday at Fabricland on sale, this is completely from scraps in my stash.  Aren't scraps a wonderful thing?

Linking up with Julie's Pet Project Saturday, Cindy's Oh Scrap! Sunday, and DSW on Monday at Patchwork Times.  Buttons on sidebar.

Remember to vote in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival!  I know I need to go do this asap.  Did my 3 picks for Viewers' Choice last week.  My two quilts are Gears in Art Quilts and Seashell Runner in Small Quilts.  So much talent and beauty and inspiration all abound in this twice-yearly festival!

Oh, nearly forgot:  Bella, in her diva, pose-for-the-blog-why-haven't-I-been-on-it-lately way, managed to catch my attention yesterday:
"Make sure you get my good side!" she's thinking.
I mean, come ON!!  What cat does this?  Well, lots, I know.  If I'm cutting, she has to be on the table; if I'm pressing, she's trying hard to be allowed to stay on the pressing area; if I'm sewing, she's either trying to get on my lap (and often succeeding) or trying to wiggle into a spot behind the small of my back, or sitting on the sewing table.  I laid out the white fabric and of course, because I was cutting, she was on the cutting mat.  So I draped the fabric end over her and smoothed out the end I was cutting.  She didn't even move, loving being beneath the fabric!!  I went to the pressing side to press the squares I'd just cut, as they still had a bit of a fold in some of them, and saw she was still motionless under the fabric. So I picked up the iPad which was right beside me, said, "Bella! What are you doing you silly pussycat?" and of course up, periscope, she popped with a "mmrrow?" and held still for two photos.  You know, just to ensure I used the very best one here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Charity Quilt for a Senior #2

And a finish for a Friday.  :-)  Hold onto your hats for a LOT of pictures.

I decided that this year I wanted to give a minimum of two quilts to the seniors' residence across the street from our home in Kingsville.  Unfortunately, but really, yay, no seniors in that residence are in wheelchairs.  So I called another, Royal Oak, and they were happy to accept quilts from me, quite tickled, in fact.
Playing with the layout on the design wall
The lady to whom I spoke said there are a few residents who rarely have family visit :-((( and so she will ensure these go to them.
Slight change, and I went with this instead of over-thinking things as I am wont to do!
We made charity quilts for wheelchair-bound seniors once before in the Alberta guild I belonged to.  These two need their ties sewing on in the top two corners yet.  That way the quilt stays secure on the lap without danger of falling off and catching under the wheels.

I seem to be on a diagonal kick with the layout of quilts I design...
Flimsy done
I had fun with the back, since I didn't have enough of the Robert Kaufman fruity fabric.
Think I STILL have about 20 3" blue squares left!
I had several squares left from Shamrock.  So when Cindy at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework started the latest Scrap-a-Palooza quilt, I just knew I could use them up in this quilt, my eighth of her scrap-a-palooza series.  I started sewing the 9-patches a couple of days before we left Florida, knowing that I would have an all-over print that I could incorporate for a few large squares.  I love jewel-toned colours.
This is an oldie, bought in a small town quilt shop on sale; at the time I thought it might work for Paula Nadelstern kaleidoscopes, but nope not symmetrical
I don't know why I only had half the width times about a yard and a quarter.  I have NO idea what I did with the first half...Stack 'n Whack?? If so, I gave the quilt away...  Or maybe my friend LuEllen and I split this fabric?  Uh yeah, it's been that long...

I'm happy to say this is all that is left, this plus two strips from the edges that are on the strips pile...(for more string quilts in all probability).
What do I do with these??
I cut several 2.5" squares of the fruity fabric, and I will cut more of the deep red (I still have a fairly large chunk of that left since I only needed 15" X the length of the quilt).  I am glad to see that I have learned from Cindy about scraps as far as organizing in strips and 2.5" squares, but I don't know what to do with these 4-5" by 9-13" ... I will save them for now, and maybe they will grow up into a bars quilt down the road, right?

Pre-washing texture...
Instead of a meander like I did in quilt #1, I picked a meander from Christina Cameli's Step by Step Free Motion Quilting.  I just LOVE this book, so glad I added it to my FMQ book collection.  This is Lilypad, and I love it!!  I did it on a larger scale for the most part, as I wanted this done fast.
Post-washing it.
In each of the four fruity 7.5" blocks I did a Dot to Dot design of Angela Walters'.  I wanted to practise ruler work before tackling Dayna's graduation quilt.

Wait, what?  Dayna's quilt?  I know, it's not been on the blog officially, as it was a surprise for her, although you did see some of it in this tutorial... I will post about it now she's seen the flimsy. I might not have finished the gift in time...and it's not the first time I've been late with a gifted quilt, red face of shame...

A view of the back:
It's really cuddly.  I used Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton batting as I did in quilt #1.  I just love this soft batting.  No affiliation, but I should talk to them; I'm giving these quilts away, and waxing poetic about their batting, right?!

Closer view so you can hopefully see the effect of the Dot to Dot designs.
So then I took the quilt outside onto the front porch as opposed to the washed-quilt shots on the floor of the front entryway...
For the binding, I just turned the backing to the front with a double-fold à la placemats.  I love the way it turned out!

I used Fufu's rayon and outside of a couple breakage issues, it quilted great, and has blended and sunk in wonderfully with the fabrics.
This design of Angela's is awesome in a busy print, and easy to stitch out!

Another great design of Angela's, good in a busy print
Trying to get all 3 in a row of the Dot to Dot designs
Both quilts!
This shot makes me happy!
The folded up shot, blue string quilt on top...
Fruity quilt on top--can you spot my signature initials/name?
Ha, just thought Tutti Fruity (sp) would have been a good name for quilt #2, but I didn't name either one.
Quilty loveliness
Charity Quilt Stats:
Size: ~29X37"
Pattern: Scrap-a-Palooza #15 Rainbow 9-patch
Fabrics: scraps from my stash
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Threads: pieced with Gutermann; quilted with Fufu's Rayon, The Bottom Line in the bobbin
Quilted on my Avanté

What's next?
Well, this
Hands2Help Charity quilt-to-be for Because You Matter
and this
Fabrics for one of Cheryl's quilt patterns I'm testing--needs a neutral, yes?
My mum gave me a two-mug set that I just LOVE, when she was here.  It's from Serenity Lavender Farm.  We both helped to support her business when we stopped in for a visit!  I knew I'd use the box the mugs came in in my sewing corner, and last night, I got rid of the $1 store basket as a catch-all on my cutting table/pressing area, and replaced it:
I love organization, but pretty organization is even better!
Gotta say how much I also love my Elmer's school glue for binding now, mmm!
Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict (whoop! whoop! for my finish) and Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF which is at...HEY!  it's in Edmonton, Alberta, where I was born and raised :-)  at Slostudio