Monday, September 15, 2014

4-patch Round

Here it is:

I really really like the turquoise zinger I added just before the 4-patches.

I was once again reminded of the importance of value and the effect it has in quilt design.  My deep purple chain does not pop like I thought it should because the green triangles are the same value as the deep purple.  Instead, the pale pinks and mauves jump out.  Still, I'm happy with the border.  Ninety-two 4-patch units made up of 8 pieces each made for a lot of piecing.  That's just about 800 pieces, no? Egad.

One more shot:

It's getting quite large, measuring 70" square at this point.  The marks all over the patio are from the very lovely, very old, but very messy black walnut trees behind us.  The leaves drop early, and leave a mark where they lie on the cement (or on freshly washed sheets) as do the beloved-to-the-squirrels walnuts themselves.

I plan to add a 1" piece of the green around it before adding my final (can't believe I actually have got to the final round) border.  I didn't get it on because I spent a couple of hours searching through books, magazines and online for a trellis pattern.  I have it in my head, but don't want to draft it.  There is a ribbon, sort of trellis pattern in Martin & McCloskey's Pieced Borders book, but it isn't quite what I have in mind.

Downton Abbey saved the day!  Downloaded the pattern for the Trellis Quilt made with Lord and Lady fabric by Kathy Hall from Makower.  Gosh, I love the blue words fabric, "Downton Abbey"!!  I made a test trellis block and it went together beautifully.

Believe it or not, this baby will create a trellis effect

So now I 'only' have 52 trellis blocks to make!  As I inserted this photo, I see 3 squares, as opposed to 3 half-square triangles that compose the 3 squares, (a dark green, a light green and a cream)...wonder if I can make this block a little differently...that sounds confusing, but I know what I mean!  I think...

I snapped a couple of pictures of Bella with her new toy from Jennifer at The Cat Ball.

And of course, the classic Bella pose:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Feeling Blue

Very much.

My mood matches the buckets of rain that fell here for a good part of the afternoon.  My darling grandson left today; as I type he is starting his downward descent back to his home in Alberta.  :-(

We had a fabulous 8 days, however.  Those memories will become less painful and more heart-warming once the grief of parting eases.

He LOVED his new Christmas quilt. 

 Never mind 'future fighter'; he's a yogi already!

Now it's a cape, Nana!
I asked his mother, my daughter, Brianne, if she would like a new quilt, and if so, what colours.  She replied that she doesn't really like quilts.  Brady said, "I LOOOVE quilts!  How do you make them, Nana?"  See?  Darling.

I sewed a grand total of 10 minutes while they were here, and those 10 minutes were only when I was spending a little time with poor Bella, who was relegated to the basement the entire time due to his severe allergies to cats.  Don't fret; this is her favourite place, so it wasn't too much of a hardship, really.  Her new toy, the prize she won in the Pets on Quilts contest, arrived, so she had fun.  I'd take a pic of her with it, but I cannot find it!  She's batted it somewhere down there, but find it I will for a picture for sure.  She loved it.

Here is how I am constructing the 4-patch border:
Notes the many pink/mauve squares yet to be unpicked...
Since I am putting the 4-patches on point, I drew myself a little diagram so I can mindlessly (ha, story of my life these days) sew the triangles to the 4-patches with the correct orientation.  I'm alternating a pink with a purple square pointing towards the quilt body.  I want the dark purple to form the chain, so it's important to orient these correctly!

These get offset as you see in the picture above, sewn into pairs, the pairs into fours, and so on, to create a border.  I had one border done before they arrived....which brings me to the other meaning of blue in my post title.

I want a little zing of blue, a nod to the blue sky over a flower garden, as well as a little, well, zing, or punch, to the inside of the 4-patches.  I intend this to be a 1/2" frame much like the one setting off the "fleurs" round.  I did try three different fabrics.  I'm thinking the bottom blue in the photo below:

The first is a strip of dark purple, but I'm thinking it blends into the dark greens too closely.  The next blue is a little green in tone, so it doesn't quite do what I want, although I do like the subtlety.  The bottom one is the one I'm leaning towards.  Sadly I do not have enough of the blue I used for the centre of the purple flower in the appliqué.

I'd love to hear what you think!  There is a soft blue in the mottled border, so this picks it up a little.

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesdays!

Monday, September 1, 2014

More Design Decisions

I wanted a trellis look for one of my last two borders.  I have to "add some 4-patches" for this next round, and while perusing my many books and magazines, as well as googling images of 4-patch borders for inspiration, I decided upon a similar border to that in Judy Martin and Marsha McCloskey's book, Pieced Borders: The Complete Resource.

I want a dark value for this next round, so I found quite a lot of a green batik I used in a 9-patch exchange quilt I made in 2001 or 2002.  Then I had to decide on the colours for the 4-patch.  I photocopied the line drawing from the book, got out my Crayola pencil crayons and coloured a few options.

Decided upon this:

However, I just don't think the chain of light purple pops enough.  I love the 3 colours together, but the green overpowers the mauves and pinks.


So, I thought well, I do have a fair amount of the two dark purples, one of which I used in the piano key border and the other for the purple zinger frame before that border... They were destined for a Karla Anderson Stack a New Deck quilt, but hey, I am making this work from my stash.  I've only bought one fabric, the ivory for the four quadrants of machine appliqué (wow, I barely shivered when I typed that word this time).

So.  Unpick all of these:

Cut a few strips of purple.  Resew the 1.5" squares onto the dark purples:

Gosh, doesn't that look like another f-word I might be saying?!  What were you thinking? I meant FUN!  Yep. Pinkie swear.

Press to the dark purple.  Cut 'em apart, and voilà!

Just look at all the French words oozing out of moi.  Mon dieu!  So, what do you think?  I think this is better, although it still doesn't 'pop' as much as I'd hoped, since the purple and green are the same value.  Yet, all in all, I am happy I am persevering with this PITA quilt.

Those of you more observant types will note that the piano keys wavy border grew a little.  Yep, I incorporated the two borders I had to recut because I'd done the wrong math and extended that border a bit as I plan to quilt feathers, maybe Angela Walters' new paisley feathers design, there.  I used every last bit of that gorgeous mauve, pink, blue, and green mottled fabric.  And it feels good!

Those of you more picky types (like myself) will note that this does not resemble a trellis.  I know.  Still pondering that design decision...

I have precious company arriving on Wednesday (a very à propos phrase from my friend Joanne, of Canuck Quilter) so I am probably not going to be very productive in the sewing or blogging parts of my life over the next week.  However, I will be VERY productive in the Nana department: Brady and Brianne arrive for 8 lovely, love-filled days on Sept. 3.

I am linking up with the lovely Marelize, who has no more dust in her clean, bright sewing room, of Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Mondays.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's Wrong With this Picture

So this Round Robin will be the death of me yet.  Biggest PITA(!!) ever.   It is.

I thought this next round, "put curves on it", wouldn't be too hard.  I had a couple ideas, one of which was incorporating a sunburst (na, too much paper-piecing) and then when I drew it all out, a picture frame, curving of course, kind of came to mind.  And it looked good.   Hunted through, oh, a stack of books and magazines for inspiration as to exactly how I'd do this.

I decided I wanted to make a piano keys border here though too.  Why?  Well, first of all, I played and taught piano most of my life.  Second, I like that style of border.  Third, I don't have a lot of dark green left in the fabrics I've used so far to make it a solid border.  And finally, it echoes both the stripes as well as the flying geese rounds.  Then I remembered Karla Alexander's method for an improv-style border in Stack a New Deck.  So I used it.

Ta da!
It took a little longer than I anticipated.  Life was contributing to the delay as well.  At first I didn't have enough of the piano key segments, so I made some more, digging through my stash and scraps.  All of a sudden I had enough for a 5th border!! Egad.  Oh well, I will put it on the back.

But where are the curves, you ask?  This was the "face your fears" part.  Went online to see if the way I thought I would do it was, in fact, correct. It was.  Here is a good video link from Fons and Porter, and here is an article with good instructions.

I made a paper pattern the length of one side, so I could fold it in quarters to ensure the curves would be even.  I also was happy to see Fons & Porter endorse my Thanksgiving turkey method...they used a dinner plate; I used an oval serving dish!  To get the gentle curve of course!

Sewed the two sides on first.  Man, it was scary to cut into the piano keys border!  This was where I left it last night:

That gorgeous mottled neutral?  Had it in my stash for ... a WHILE.  Wish I'd bought more than a yard!

So this morning I figured no prob, tackle the top and bottom and 'Bob's yer uncle'.  Uh oh, the quilt has now grown by 2" on each side because of those side borders.  No problem; add 4" and you get 59.5".  Uh, so where do I put the paper border template?  On centre and add the 2" at the ends?  That didn't seem right.  I'd have too long of a rectangle at each corner.  Um... Start the paper template at the end and then fudge in the 2" over the curves on each half of the border?  I remember adjusting quilting stencils in this way; the eye doesn't notice a 1/4" - 1/2" extension or shrinkage over a gentle curve.  So this rang a bell.  So that is what I did.  And I did the most brainiac stupid thing ever: I cut both the borders at once, to "save time", "get them both identical in their curves."  Ya, right.  Or maybe not.  Look below:

Houston, we have a problem... Nooooo...*%$#!!!

Cry.  Rant.   Say bad words.  Consider adding in a corner square, and putting a seam on each "hill" curve to save this border, and shrink it accordingly.  I only have 22" left of this fabric, and I need it in the next round, because I have that round planned.  Or did.  Decide to recut 3 more 4" strips and redo this border.  I can use the 2" wide part of the unuseable one in the next round.  Yes I can.  Breathe.  Go do yoga to try to find my chi.

Found my chi.  This looks better doesn't it?  Now that mitred corner is symmetrical.

And here it is FINALLY with the curves round on.

A close-up of the corner, all sewn:

Next round:  "add some 4-patches".  I know where I want to stick some 4-patches...cough, no!  I will play nice.  I will.  :-)  Besides, my mum told me this is her favourite quilt I've done since I started this blog.  Well, that's because of two things:  #1: it has lots of flowers on it, and she loves, loves, loves flowers, and #2:  there's almost no "buh-lue" (said with a pulled face and rolling of eyes) on it!! lol  She hates blue.  HATES.  I, on the other hand, love it.

I also sewed on the actual gears Joe bought to each corner of his Gears quilt and hung it on his wall of fame corner in his garage.

OH!  And I got two fantastic news items today, and one a few days ago:
1.  Bella won a random prize drawing in the Pets on Quilts contest in Cats on Quilts category! Thank you SO MUCH to Jennifer of the Cat Ball!!  You should check out her site, very pretty fabric balls.  For cats to go IN.  And if you have a cat, chances are you know just how much he or she loves to stuff herself into anything.  Think Maru.  If you live under a rock (hello! so do I sometimes) then click here for a video you will loooove.

2.  My LQS in Sarasota, Cotton Patch Quilt Shop, is going to be in the Fall Quilt Sampler (knew that for a while now) but their quilt is on the cover!!  Coolio.

3.  My friend, Lara, who blogs at BuzzinBumble, has just found out that a book she has been working on is going to be published by the American Quilters' Society!  Congrats, Lara!  It's a new method of "aaaack"-pliqué, so I will have to check it out and turn the way I say it in my head to "ahhh-pliqué", said with a sigh of contentment.  Normally, I don't mind appliqué, but this quilt was pretty intense.  So, I'm interested, as her method is raw-edge appliqué, whereas mine was all edge-turned, except for the "fleurs" word.

Until next round! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The "f" word

Yep.  That oughtta get some attention!

Been known to utter it on occasion.  Occasion of appliqué that will never end...


The name of my round robin.

Here's the next round done!

"Excuse me?"  you're thinking, "I thought you weren't a fan of appliqué?"  Well... this idea germinated.  The directions for this round were "add some words or phrases to your quilt".  Oh, it had already had plenty of those flung at it!  Didn't think the ladies in the guild would appreciate me appliquéing the f-word you were thinking of when you read my title.  Sitting in the back seat of our car last Sunday, Dayna riding shotgun so she and her dad could yak, I let my mind free-associate for a name for the quilt.  Voilà.

Apologies for the poor lighting, but again, it's darker than the inside of a cow outside.  I plan to quilt "fleurs" on the other 3 sides in the same lettering, and then quilt the snot out of the surrounding so it pops.

In case it's not apparent, the centre block, my orphan block, is hand appliquéd, stitches so tiny that I doubt I could replicate them today with my deteriorating close-up vision.  The four corners of appliqué is by machine, but edges turned under a scant 1/4".  I did the "fleurs" letters raw-edge appliqué using a blanket stitch on my Bernina.  So three different methods of appliqué on one quilt!

Next round is to add pieced curves.  I might just get this baby done yet.

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Appliqué Round Done


Aside from the marks on the patio from the American Black Walnut trees, it's a lovely setting amongst the gi-normous impatiens, no?  That's four plants, btw.  From a 4-pack of little 1-inch seedlings. They love that corner.  The four on the opposite corner, are half the size.  Weird.

"Fleurs" amongst the flowers!
 Here's a more or less straight-on shot from last night.
There are 52 pieces (that's counting the stem sections) in each quadrant.  208 in all.  I got the design,  called "Petal by Petal", from the April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, but modified it slightly.  Her block has the flowers set into an appliquéd basket with a couple more stems of leaves.  And her quilt, 16 blocks, is all done by hand!!

Dayna came over for lunch yesterday, bringing a new salad recipe to try.  It was delicious.  So fresh.

Those are the ingredients.  All from the back yard of Essex County, Kingsville and Ruthven to be exact.  Well, except for the avocado, which is from Mexico, and garlic, (how dumb) from California!  My own cilantro went to seed, hate that.  The cocktail tomatoes, regular tomatoes, and cucumbers are grown just up the road from our house; the cukes are "seconds" which we get from the greenhouse's roadside stand, 3/$1.  Gotta love that!

Add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you get this
Yum.  Sooo healthy.  Fantastic visit too we had!

The next round of the round robin is to put words on it.  Since I can't write the words that I'd like to write on it, haha, with all the pain and aggravation I felt while working through that last round, (but now satisfaction) I've decided to quilt the name of the quilt, "Fleurs", into the next round.  After that it's "put curves on it" so I have an idea of perhaps incorporating a sun onto it.  Then a final pieced border.  Due by the third week of September.  No sweat.

Did I mention I'm giving up the first week of September sewing to spend in sheer unadulterated joy with my beloved grandson, Brady, and our daughter, Brianne, who are coming here for a much-anticipated visit?!  In mid-September, we are going to Watkins Glen, NY, to meet up with dear friends and winter neighbours from Florida, who spend the summers in New York State.  No pressure to finish this (and the paint chip challenge, OMG) by September 25 quilt show.  (Hot flashing profusely now...)

One last ahhh shot of that corner of the garden.  It's filled in so nicely.
Finally! A couple of cannas are blooming! Orange one visible here.
Joe says (and he is the gardener guru) we are going to over-winter his banana tree (massive one in the pot on the right of the picture) once again this year.  Think we might need a forklift to get it back into our house this time!!

I'm not linking up with Marelize of Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Mondays as she is taking a break.  I might be doing that in September methinks!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop Phase 2

Good day!
I wanted to give a shout-out to everyone to go and check out the wonderful work done by three of my new friends in Quilt Blogland!  These ladies wow me with their work, their creativity and their accomplishments.

First is Joanne of Canuck Quilter.  Doesn't this quilt block alone (which she designed) make you want to find out more about this talented quilter?

She does some amazing things with stars, my favourite block.  She has several patterns for sale on Etsy.  Check out this recent finish.  Love how she quilted this one!
Sparkling Trail
You can read Joanne's post for the hop here.

Speaking of quilting, Hilary of Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop who lives in England, puts out some really cool original FMQ designs.  Here is just one I want to use on Over and Under, which is waiting to go onto the longarm:

As I mentioned last week, she recently entered this stunning, eye-catching, fabulous I-have-no-more-words-I-love-it-so-much quilt into the Festival of Quilts 2014.
Cosmic Split

You can read Hilary's post for the hop here.

And last, but definitely not least, is Gina, of The Occasional Quilter, in Wales.  Her main page picture alone makes my jaw drop in an "Ahh" of awesome-ness.  A Welsh castle!!

I would say I have three main reasons I feel such a pull to and love of Wales.  My grade 12 English teacher was Welsh.  I loved his class.  I also love Sharon Kay Penman's trilogy that begins with Here Be Dragons.  Finally, my beloved great-Auntie Ruth moved to Wales for the latter part of her life, and although I never did get to visit her there, the pictures I've seen of where she lived are incredibly beautiful.  So now I am so happy to have a Welsh quilting friend!  Gina wrote a wonderful post in honour of St. David, patron saint of Wales.  My mum always made sure we wore red on April 23 in honour of St. George's Day, patron saint of England.  So I get this pride!

Gina, like me, is doing the Tula Pink City Sampler.  She is much further along than I.

Don't you love the batiks she chose?  I especially love the aquas and turquoises.

I also just love her windowsill runner.  What a great idea if you are lucky enough to have wide windowsills and small blocks!

You can read Gina's post here.

Thank you to all three for agreeing to do this blog hop.  :-)   It's a fun way to check out some perhaps new-to-you blogs, to be inspired, to see some scenery from other parts of our world, and to get those creative juices flowing!

I am linking up with Marelize of Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Mondays.