Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I was hoping to get this quilt done in a day or two...and I almost did.  I started quilting yesterday morning.  If I hadn't been fighting with thread breakage, I would have had this done in full daylight!

I took it off the frame at 5 pm and raced upstairs and outside for a couple of daylight twilight pics.  Yep, I haven't even trimmed it up, or trimmed off hanging threads!

Bella gave the back her stamp of approval:

I was short about 9" of the backing I'd bought but no problem:  I had some extra border fabric, a nice large label (exactly 9.5" high) and a few, no make that a TON of smaller pieces left from the front.

When I made this quilt last winter in Florida, (the post is here), I had no name for the quilt.  As I pieced the backing I let my mind free-associate, realizing that I have yet another floral quilt... I came up with Savannah because we stayed there for a night on our way back up north this past spring, and I fell in love with that city.  The floral fabrics are from the Shangri-Là line by 3 Sisters and they have an old-fashioned feel, so I thought the name "Savannah" à propos, seeing as I'd made it not long before the trip.

I purchased the fabrics at Cotton Patch Quilt Shop on their New Year's Day Fat Quarter Sale a few years ago.  I wanted a large quilt for our bed.  I'm not a fan of how much brown there is in this quilt; I would have preferred a focus fabric leaning to either more green or more blue.  (Hmm, I see after finding the link for the Turning Twenty post that I wrote (January) that I wasn't a fan of the quilt at that point, with a flimsy finish.) Uh, which might be a reason as to why the fabric has sat on my stash shelves for oh, about five years...  I'm liking it a little more now that I've quilted it, but I still don't have a "wow-I-love-this-quilt" feeling.  I bought the backing from Cotton Patch's sale section (love that) at the time I bought the fat quarters for the front.  It is Jacobean Joyeux/Provence by Benartex.

You may recall I had issues with tension on the Watercolour Steps quilt I recently quilted on Avril, my Avanté.  I am worried that I might have messed up the timing or something on my machine when I hit my blue ruler while quilting Summer Breeze.  I thought I would test the tension by using a basic cotton thread for this quilt.  I had nearly a full spool of Aurifil variegated cotton left over from Brady's quilt, and I thought it would blend in nicely with the multi-coloured fabrics in this quilt.  I just wanted a flowing, fairly large-scale overall design for this quilt as the fabrics all blend.  The Aurifil sewed quite nicely once I played with the top and bobbin tension for a while.  I really am liking Aurifil more and more...and man, there's a LOT of thread on those 1300 metre spools!!  This quilt took 2.5 bobbins so about 500 yards of thread.

For the rectangles set on their long side, I quilted a figure 8 design

And for the rectangles set on their short side, I did a woven design

I did have trouble with the Sulky Blendables thread I used, which is not normal for me.  I ended up stitching with the stitch regulator on, and sewing very slowly.  Even so, it broke fairly frequently, seeming to get pulled down beneath the quilt.  I still blame hitting the ruler...did I mention I hit it again during the quilting of this quilt?  It was while I was quilting the border 1/4" from the edge.  The hopping foot hopped over the ruler, probably because of me holding the ruler against the wrong side of the foot, or just the trickiness of quilting the very edges of a quilt...anyhow, chunk #2 flew out, a small one, which I have yet to find to Krazy Glue back in...might have a new ruler in my future here.  Sigh.  And Avril has a trip in her future to the doctor to get checked out.

Anyhow, it is just the perfect thread for the feathers I did in the borders, so I persevered.  Sorry for the hasty pictures, and rumpled quilt...

Swirls and hooks, a teardrop shape echoed, and a leaf design, echoed again, are what I used for the centre of the quilt
This is a shot of how I need to leave quilts overnight when they are in the middle of being quilted.  A certain feline has left trademark fur blobs on in-progress quilts, and created a little more sag on the quilt than how it was left...  And yes that is an open jar of Bath & Bodyworks body butter; she detests lotion smells, so I figured that would be a sure-fire way to keep her off!

Note, Angela Walters' new book!

I plan to sew the binding on tonight or tomorrow, and then hand-stitch it to the back as we travel down to Florida...oh YEAH!  It's official:  we have bought a house--EEEEEK!-- and we are leaving this weekend to move our stuff out of storage and into our new abode.  I've kept that under wraps for some time...anyhow, it's been a tad hectic this last month and especially this past week as we switch gears to head south with the birds!

 Next pic of Savannah will be with her binding on and in Florida!  Linking up with Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's Been A While...

I was out West visiting my darling grandson, my daughter and my family and friends all last week.  While I was gone, I took the opportunity to take my Bernina in for her checkup and service.  Finally sat down last night and checked her out; she purred along much like Bella, who was so happy to have me back sewing in the her basement!  I had started Snowflake 6 of Joanne's Snowalong before I left.  I finished it last night.

Version 1 of Snowflake 6
This is yet another background colour, a Christmas-themed batik.  Love it.  Sorry about the dark area at the bottom...didn't see that when I took the picture. 

Brianne and Brady loved their snowflake cushions.  Brianne thought they looked great together on her black leather couch, but Brady said, nope, it was going in his room, with his Christmas quilt.

He LOVES quilts.  He slowly went through the first quarter of my American Patchwork & Quilting magazine that I'd taken with me, studying the pictures and making comments.  He really liked a particular Halloween quilt in that issue (I'm behind in my reading) and has asked me to make it for him!  All right then.  What Brady wants, Nana will do!

Brianne got a little bit of Christmas in her room as well:

This is All People Quilt's Roll It Up! pillowcase pattern, free on their website.  I've made it many times.  This fabric is from O'Susannah's Quilts and Gifts in Watkins Glen.  Hey!  I see they are having a viewing of the first episode of Season 5's Downton Abbey a month early!!  Can.  Not.  Wait.  for it to start, but I will have to wait until January 4.  Don't you just love this modern Christmas fabric?

I also made Brady a new pair of warm flannel pajama bottoms:

And I made my mum a warm short scarf to be worn under her winter coat, so her neck and chest will be extra-warm this winter.

I've made two using this pattern where you knit 2 together and then put your wool forward and knit 1.  It gives it the diagonal look and drape.  The yarn is from Joann's, a 70% acrylic, 30% wool (I thought it had some wool in it, Mum!) which is made in Turkey.  It is lovely and warm!  I know I will be wearing my scarf I made last year when I walk Rocco today.  We have had 4 days of gale-force winds, about 2" of snow and temperatures down in the 20s, brrr.  We are all Florida dreaming... 

This was Monday, Nov. 17. Some melted, more fell, so it looks about the same today

Rocco will be in his hoodie, that's for sure.
It says "Don't Bully My Breed" on his back.  Keeps his bare belly warm!

Naala is the only one who isn't bothered by the cold.  Thank goodness that we are on the west end of Lake Erie, so the Lake Effect Snow means that we got 2" whereas Buffalo got...well, a TON.  Yowzers.

Not too happy about wearing my hoodie, but I'll put up with it if it means I get a WALK!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas....

...inside my house, and I love it!  This is another of Joanne's Snowalong snowflakes, Version 1 of Snowflake 4, which I've turned into a cushion cover.
Nestled amongst the Nootka Cypress branches, so Christmasy!
Snuggled up together on our loveseat:

The quilt sandwich.  I quilted it with multi-coloured Sulky Sliver (like a ribbon) Metallic in the borders and a regular silver-coloured metallic on the snowflake.  (Note: those aren't typos: sliver as in flat, ribbon-style thread, and silver, as in colour!)

The silver reads a little dark in the pictures on the snowflake, but in person, it's quite sparkly!
The back shows the quilting a little better:

The holly leaves and berries is another design from Kathy Sandbach's Show Me How to Machine Quilt, a book I've referred to time and time again over the years.

I knew right away where I was going to take the outside picture, but I hadn't realized just how perfect a match Jude's Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) would be!! 

We have one too, but hers is more spectacular.  Some of them around town are taller than I am, and 10 feet or more in circumference.  With the gale on the weekend, most of the big ones are pretty bare.

Wish the golds in the Maple(?) Oak(?) in the background showed up better

The back:

I finally watched the entire Sharon Schamber binding video Judy of Quilt Paradigm raves about.  It's worth every minute.  I watched, well, mostly listened, as I finished hand-stitching the binding down this morning.  I was clearly taught well:  I do just about everything just as she does, except for glue-basting and stitch (I use an appliqué stitch as opposed to Sharon's ladder stitch, but I'm going to try that on my next binding).

An in-the-shade shot so the colours aren't as washed out as in the sun:

I opted for the red inner frame.  I had tried Christmas green at first, but it didn't 'speak' to me, and, although the white looked great for a pop, it was almost too much of a pop...and moreover, this pillow is going to a little boy who ADORES red...  A little boy who loved Jude's inukshuk:

Heading back downstairs to sew up a couple of other items I'll be taking with me on my trip out West next week! Linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesdays.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Snowflake Project

I had hoped to have two pillows for this post, but, ya, life jumped into my day.... AGAIN!

So this is Snowflake #4, version 4, of Joanne's Snowalong on her blog, Canuck Quilter.  I took the block and made it into a non-traditional colourway, yet still festive, cushion.

I first added a 1/2" finished white frame around the 9 1/2" block.  Then I added a 2 1/2" pink frame to make a 15" square.  Next, I made a quilt sandwich, layering a square of muslin with a square of batting, and topping it with the block.  The muslin will be on the inside of the cushion, so it won't show.  I quilted it using Sulky Holoshimmer I LOVE them.  Seriously.  I didn't realize how much I missed them, as I haven't tried them on the Avanté yet.  My Bernina loves them too, as long as I back off the top tension, and feed the spool à la toilet paper roll style, over my stand-alone thread holder and guide which I usually use for cones of thread, and from there into the machine.

I zipped outside last night to get some fast-fading light on it to show off some of the glitz.  I did all of the quilting with my walking foot except for the 4 corner snowflakes, which I FMQ-ed.  The snowflake is a design I love, and which I've used before, from Kathy Sandbach's first book.

Tried stuffing one edge between the bricks to hold it on the wall for more light...sort of...  I used an iridescent and a hot pink Holoshimmer.  Did I mention how much I love that thread?  Well, Sulky, period.  Not getting anything for saying that.  It's just a fact:  I love their threads.

Close-up of the corner FMQ snowflakes in sparkly hot pink thread:

For the pillow back, I cut two rectangles, 10.5" X 15".  I finished one 15" edge on each rectangle with a 1/2" seam.

Then I placed one of the now 10X15" rectangles wrong sides together, on top of the front quilt sandwich piece.

Add the second, still wrong side of pillow back to wrong side of quilt sandwich.  The seamed edges will overlap by about 5".

From this point, I pinned, and then stitched 1/4" around all 4 sides.  For the binding, I cut a piece of pink batik 2 1/4" wide that would go around the quilt pillow sandwich.  Machine-stitched it down from the front, turned it to the back of the pillow and hand-stitched it down.

I slipped in a 14" cushion form and voilà!  Christmas gift ready to be given!  I've written on the muslin inside the cushion cover, but I can't show that or I'll ruin a surprise...

Note that the elephant ears plants are not so happy anymore, after that 28-degree night and cold north gale-force winds on the weekend.  Here's one last outdoor shot close-up.  I'm really happy with this gift!

 Linking up with Anything Goes Mondays, guest host today is Helen of Till We Quilt Again!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Snowflake #4

I am late to the party this week, but better late than never!  Life has been full.  Just not of sewing.

I made two versions of snowflake #4.  The first is version 4.

I like the white triangles dancing around the centre star.  I also like the lacy doily effect the skinny rectangle makes betweent the star and the triangles.

Pink?!  Yup, another unusual background.  I have ideas for what these will grow up into.  I'd hoped to show you a finished project...

Here is snowflake #4 but done in version 1.  Can you believe it's the exact same pattern?!  I LOVE that.

I tried a busier background as opposed to a monochromatic one, and I do like the effect!  That snowflake floats on the background, doesn't it?

I am getting quite the collection...

Yesterday on one of my visits to another blogger's entry into the Bloggers' Quilt Festival (voting started today, so hop on over there and check them all out; there's some stunning quilts; I love thinking about all the sewing machines whirring across the world each day creating such beauty to live on past the creators) where was I?  Oh yes, I saw that another quilter has a cat supervisor/cheerleader/boss/approver-of-all-components-of-constructing-a-quilt/expert!  Clearly, as I've alluded to before, there is a superb system of cat memos that circulate beyond our mere humans' comprehension.  My jaw dropped when I saw some of the EXACT same poses and actions that her cat does in her sewing room.  And didn't Bella comply within a couple of hours, reminding me of her most-significant input into every single quilt and every single aspect of its construction:

This CRACKS me up.  Think she loves the extra crackle of that freezer paper!
 She didn't grab for anything, not once, just gazed at the pieces emerging out the back of the machine!

The one below was 10 days ago.  She would have happily perched there for some time, had I not shooed her off after the picture was taken.  I know I took one of her in the condo last winter, doing the exact same thing...

If you're wondering about the quilt in the background, it was a pattern I bought many years ago and made about 3 years ago in memory of and tribute to, the very best (cover Bella's ears) cat who has been in my life, my darling Raffi, who lived to be 17.5 years old.  She was pure black, even to her eyebrows and whiskers.  Can you see her wings?

Linking up with Snowalong for week 5!