Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fleurs - A Final 2014 Flimsy Finish

Ha, alliteration not fully intended, but there you go.

She had to be photographed in the back yard since we had the front lawn mowed today (drove my husband crazy to have someone else do his lawn--he has always been ANAL about his manicured lawn) but hey, we have no mower, and for $25 the guy did a terrific job.  The back is not the greatest of lawns, pretty sparse in actuality.

Notice anything different?  Nope?  Okay.  She talked to me.  A LOT.  (two words, people, remember that)  The final trellis border did not sit well.  At all.  I liked it; don't get me wrong, especially when I figured out how to construct the block with less seams, and once I figured out the error in the pattern (online at  The border had two problems:  the first was that it was too light.  I like a darker "frame" to end a quilt.  The second came to me after some time:  it was too wide for the scale of the other borders in this quilt.  So. 

I spent a good half day ripping the double-wide border down to a single width.  I had pieced two 6" blocks side by side making the final border 12".  It wasn't an easy rip because I'd sewed pairs together and then a pair to a pair, and so on.  Hence, it wasn't one long vertical seam to rip.  But whatever.  I am happy.  Fleurs is happy.  And then I knew she needed the solid frame.  Did I have enough of the green?  To make a 3" finished frame, which is an appropriate size for the 6" wide trellis, I needed 31.5" give or take...I had it.

How does one have this much fabric in one's stash?!  I'd bought 3 metres of it because I loved it, and because I had thoughts of maybe a navy and green quilt.  Then I used some of it in a Christmas 9-patch quilt I made about 10 years ago.  So now it is all gone but for about 5" times WOF.  Yay!

This quilt has been a little over a year in the birthing process.  Should've named her Éléphant!! It was a challenge devised by my guild in Kingsville, the deadline for which has long passed.  However, it was a great learning experience and pushed my creativity.  I liked that.

I had planned to quilt her on my Avanté, but she's whispering that she might like to be quilted down here on my Bernina, since the Avanté sits a thousand miles to the north...  I just might do that.  She measures a whopping 90.5" square.  Gulp.  I did do one that size once on my Bernina.

After the above photos, I saw our fence, and thought I might be able to peg her to the fence to get a face-on pic.  I did!  The fence is not tall enough but hey, I braved a scary-looking hill of fire ants to get this last one.  That's an empty lot (well not empty of bush!) beside us.

Yep, she'll do.  She'll do just fine!  The corners on this single round of trellis blocks did not all play nicely together (as in line up) with their respective rows, but if I didn't point that out, you might not have noticed.  Still, I am totally okay with this quilt, and more than okay that it is DONE!

Just a quick recap of each round for the Self Round Robin, given one per month over 7 months:
Choose an orphan block (mine was the centre appliqué Rose of Sharon, hand-appliquéd in oh, 2001 or so
1. stripes
2. flying geese
3. appliqué (she got stuck here a loooong time)
4. put words on it
5. add curves
6. 4-patches
7. final pieced border
(and I framed it for the 8th round)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Corner Conundrum

I'm back to working on Fleurs again; she's not been forgotten, just set aside for a bit.

You may recall I am at the "Final Pieced Border" stage of my guild's Round Robin that was due in September.  Yeah, I didn't make it.  I am not giving up on her, however.  This quilt is kind of like an ornery teenager:  you love her dearly, but god, she can make you spit nails...

Here is the trellis border, in keeping with the fleurs theme:
The pattern is a free download from Makower UK; it's The Trellis Quilt in the Downton Abbey series. I've put the two columns together for my quilt.
Here is the progress:

One side is sewn on; the other ready to go but for trying to figure out how to turn the corner.  Moreover, I have another conundrum:

Points all oriented the same way, zooming around the quilt?
Top and bottom going the same way, sides the same?
I decided on choice #1,  all oriented the same way.

It's not always Bella who immediately lolls about on a quilt when it's placed on the floor...

I played around with four blocks, trying to get a smooth transition in the corner.  I think this could be it!  If I could replace the two light green 1/2 square triangles on the right side of the block of four, I should get another "v" or arrow shape.  Do you see where I mean? This is one twisty-turny block.

Below, you see the two I mean.  I placed two cut triangles on top of the pale green ones.  Yes!

Unpicked.  Inserted the new triangles.  Sewed the unchanged two blocks together.  Brought that pair back and the newly inserted dark green ones to make sure I oriented them right.
Wait a minute...
Remember, I only have the two new ones to orient correctly.
what the hell...
Note that the pair on the outside is already sewn together. Here I'd just flipped it top to bottom!

Getting closer, but still no square on point in the middle!
Thank god I'd taken a picture of my original plan before I'd even begun to unpick...

3 out of 4 in place, now to flip the last one around...

I think this will work.  Next problem, well there are two.  The first is that I have run out of pale green.  Did you notice there are two pale greens in these pics?  I found a close match in my stash, but it is GONE, as in the two unpicked triangles are it and one 2X3.5" rectangle.  No problem; when this sad state of affairs hit me about a month ago, I'd already decided do two sides of the border in dark and that turquoise you see the hit of in the picture above.  This happened to me on a previous quilt and I LOVE the effect.

The second problem is that I am reading SUCH a good book right now and I cannot stop thinking about it or finding ways to "just read one more chapter"... It's The Bat by Jo Nesbø.  It's the first in the Detective Harry Hole series, and, like the 4th one (the first released in North America--are you confused yet?!) which I read last winter, it is immediately gripping, makes you think, revolts you with murder descriptions (well it does me anyhow), and makes you both love and get mad at Harry.  He has his faults.  More of them than Jackson Brodie, Kate Atkinson's detective (great books they are too.)


Friday, December 19, 2014

Small Finishes

I can show one finish, now that it has been given to the recipient.
At the front door in Kingsville
This is another of Joanne's Snowalong paper-pieced snowflakes, #3 to be exact.  I made it back in October, knowing it would go to my daughter, Dayna.  You can purchase the patterns for all 7 snowflakes through her website link to her Craftsy store.  They are a mere $3.

Here it is after I quilted the front of the cushion cover. Wow, what a difference from under my Ott-lite to outside, no?!

A last shot of it with Lake Erie in the background (we were leaving for Florida the next day).

We'd already had a bit of snow at that point, but it had melted.  I discovered, and rediscovered two very handy tools during the binding of this cushion.

I followed Sharon Schamber's binding tutorial exactly this time, and as I mentioned before, I am pleasantly surprised at how well I was taught: outside of the glue and the ladder stitch she uses, I do my bindings exactly as she does.  It pays to take classes at your LQS!!  Or now online, lol, as mine was nearly 20 years ago...

Anyhow, first discovery was glue: I glued the binding down (look, no pins, ma!), and the rediscovery was beeswax: I remembered a tip from an appliqué class I also took at my LQS way back.  Run the thread through beeswax to help reduce tangling.  This time I tried Sharon's ladder stitch, and quite liked it.  After trying out the new techniques, I then went full-steam ahead on the binding on Savannah, which, as you know, I mostly stitched on the trip down here.  Having no pins to worry about in the SUV was a most-welcome perk!

Bella gave the cushion her customary stamp of approval

Not my best side, lol
I nearly didn't include that shot, but she is so darn adorable in the way she is so fascinated by pretty much every part of the quilt-making process.  This time she was especially intrigued by me hand-sewing the binding down! She didn't grab for the thread, just watched intently. And would gaze at me every once in a while...

The back.  This shows the richness of this gorgeous batik.

A another close-up of the quilting.  Again, I used Sulky Holoshimmer for sparkle!

My second small finish is using the Riley Blake fabric Lara so kindly sent me a few days ago.  Did you guess what it was I was making?

Two make-up bags.  I used The Cake Clutch pattern on Moda Bakeshop.  I made a couple of changes. First, instead of top-stitching the polka-dot piece onto the red main piece, I pieced it in.  This way I saved fabric (of course!) as well as reduced bulk.  Second, I edge-stitched the centre piece along the zipper to help keep it from catching in the zipper.  I'd do that before I sewed up the sides next time I make one of these, so I could stitch along the entire length of the zipper.  I love this fabric combination! So happy.

Best of all, I worked with the laminated cotton she also sent me.  Nice touch for the inside of a make-up bag, I'd say!

I used Gutermann 50 wt cotton in white for the quilting I did in the polka-dot sections.  No marking, just aimed for the centre of the dots for the cross-hatching pattern, and for the other I did straight lines and a gentle wave (no marking, qué sera, sera feel, aka 'organic' feel) all with my walking foot.  In the red fabric, I centred 3 lines spaced 1/4" apart using Sulky Blendables in 12 wt.  Easy.

And now I'm behaving, getting back on track by sewing up my trellis blocks for Fleurs.  Hope to have this flimsy done asap!

Linking up with TGIFF hosted today by Sarah at Things I Make as well as with a different Sarah of Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday...

And it's totally off topic.  But I had an idea using the Riley Blake fabric I got from Lara...

I really like these happy colours!  Can you figure out what I'm making?

Moda Bakeshop has some amazing ideas and inspiration on their blog...

You probably have a good idea with the zippers now in the mix...  I had some fun with Gutermann thread and Sulky Blendables in 12 wt doing some simple quilting on these.

Speaking of zippers, I would like to commend Canada, specifically Costumakers, for minimal packaging for their zippers, which are available at Fabricland.  No affiliation here, just some love and kudos.

Hmm, that was not the way I oriented the photo..gremlins...

Here you see the comparison between a zipper I bought at JoAnn's and the one I bought at Fabricland.  Packaging for a zipper in Canada? A 2 5/8" long lightweight cardboard tab you see on the top zipper.  In the USA? The two pieces of lightweight cardboard you see on either side of the second zipper. The first is a 9" fold-out (so it's really twice as wide as my picture shows) telling you how to insert a zipper.  This is stapled to the zipper and then both are enclosed in the 10 " long package you see at the bottom of the picture, which also has the plastic film in the window of the packaging.  I'd already torn it out so I could recycle the packaging.  What a waste!!!  So unnecessary.  Come on!

Like Judy's Nugget (Quilt Paradigm), Rocco hasn't made an appearance for a while.  He spent a solid hour while I was doing my yoga today (which I do in my sewing room; it's my happy place in more ways than one!) lying like this.  He has discovered that the low windows in this house are a perfect resting spot for his head, while he takes advantage of my newly repaired window to sniff the air and watch for critters in his new 'hood.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesdays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Life's a Bi-each...

So a few days ago I needed to just sew something. Anything.  Feel the whir of my newly tuned-up Bernina...  Yes, I could have/should have worked on piecing some more of the trellis for "Fleurs" (thought I'd left her, forgotten, forlorn, didn't you?), but I wanted something pretty much as mindless, well, maybe not as mindless, that would yield a more interesting result.  Tula!  Yep, I brought the scraps and fat quarters and newly purchased book (I'd previously borrowed it from our library) down here with me to keep plugging away at the 100 blocks.  Here's what happened:

Let's has been a while.... oh yeah, guess I was on Block #8.  Pick colours. Cut.  Ahh, feels good to have a rotary cutter back in my hand.  Sew. Press. Yes!!

So pretty!

When I went to add them my pile of blocks, I discovered, that I'd already made this one!  And four more after it...
To keep or to rip?  I am making all 100 blocks, so 101 is not going to cut it...I could put the extra on the quilt back.  Or I could rip it and see if I can use the pieces in another block, since she repeats many same size squares and rectangles.

Life is a bit*h...Spent a day ripping.  Very carefully.  These squares finish at 1", so not a lot of room for frayed edges.  NEEDED TO SEW! MINDLESS!  Spent last night sewing UFO project #1 for this winter.
Love this Roll It Up! pillowcase pattern from All People Quilt.  Made it many times. Had the blue fabric for years to make pillowcases. Notice the 2.5" squares in a pile? A tip from Cynthia's Scrap-a-Palooza series is growing my stock of organized 2.5" squares!
Life's a beach...  Today, I got my sewing room window fixed. (I know you're thinking wth? She was writing about Tula Pink blocks.  No, pillowcases... Welcome to my menopausal regular mind...Just wait...) Yay!  I can open my window now, and the screen is fixed so no bugs will come in!  After my window was fixed, we headed out to Manasota Key for our first beach sesh.  Needed to soothe my ripped up soul, lol.  Not really, as I am so happy in this new house, but a beach day is always a good day. And today was stellar.

Look at the colours!  And this was just my iPhone 4.

Came home and sewed the Tula Pink pieces back together.  Had to cut the centre square and the bars of the plus but managed to make the other pieces pretty much all work:

Ta-da!  Block #13...
Don't you just LOOOVE the tray I used for background interest?!  It's a "happy new home" gift from my darling friend and other-side-of-our-wall neighbour in Kingsville, Jude.  Say what?  Are you confused?  Well don't be; they came for a visit!  Our first guests here.  They have a winter home in Winterhaven, Florida, so not too far away.  She has an affinity for all things France, as do I, (especially Paris for her).  I love to have my morning coffee outside, as well as my afternoon tea, with my book, and chocolate, so this will be perfect to load up and carry to my spot! So thoughtful of her; she knows me well.

Speaking of happy new home gifts, on Saturday a Priority Post parcel was placed at my front door.  Remember I won Lara's (Buzzin Bumble) wreath fabric she created on Spoonflower?
Bella likes it too!
Well, that darling girl (I truly am so very blessed with such wonderful, thoughtful, caring friends) sent me a gift for my new sewing room.  And WHAT a gift!!!!

Holy generosity, Batman!  There are three 1-yard cuts of Riley Blake Designs (a fabric line I've admired, but never have bought), a 1/2 yard cut of Kona cotton "Breakers" (Lara is so smart in how she labelled it with its colour name, and I'm going to copy her idea: a skinny Post-It note pinned to the fabric).  And there's a yard of a laminated cotton in aqua (the top fabric in the picture above)!  I have never seen this before.  I immediately thought of make-up bags, lunch bags...think there are a few members of my family who might benefit from experimenting with this.  I was blown away, and so touched.

I love florals, pastels, earth tones.  But this past year I have been drawn to the modern bright colours, especially aqua with red (see my Over and Under quilt, though it's more of a mint than an aqua).  I love the Christmas quilts and décor that I've seen done in aqua and red.  Well, Lara has given me a push to actually create something (and I have a few ideas) with these two colours.

I've been writing this blog just over a year now, and I started it, as most do, mainly to keep track of what I sew, and, a close second, to keep family and friends in the loop as to what I'm up to.  I never dreamed I'd meet some wonderful, talented, warm people, who I now consider good friends.

Funny about life: that at 50+ I find kindred spirits, people like Jude, like Lara, both of whom I've recently met,  and yet to whom I feel such a deep connection.  :-)

Today, I'm linking up for the first time with Freemotion By the River.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Savannah 2 - A Finish on Friday!

I've been busy!  I got most of the binding sewn down on the 18-hour drive down here...but then that last section took me a week!  Good thing we had the ducts cleaned yesterday, so I sat on the lanai with the animals and finished the last half of the last side!  Done and done!  Washed 'er up today, and I have to say, I'm actually a little less not in love (get the double-negative?) with Savannah.  Okay, pics.

Under my favourite kind of tree!
Texture - mmmm
The thread has sunk in and blended beautifully.

Another shot of the thread and the loose, flowing leafy designs I quilted

I showed these in the previous post, pre-washed stage but worth a second look now the quilt is washed
The back.  FMQ feathers in the border
I'm getting better at turning corners!
A shot of the back where I pieced in a strip because I was short on the backing fabric, and this way I could once again piece the label in as an integral part of the backing!
Texture, and green grass!!
Folded up -- love the poinsettias that are outside everywhere!
Joe and I were musing about that today: how on our first trip here we marveled at seeing poinsettias absolutely everywhere outside: in pots, planted in the ground, on steps...we'd only ever known them as inside plants!  True Northerners... We still appreciate it.

Bella is settling in nicely to our very own sewing room.  She was visibly happy the other day when I was organizing some of the projects I have brought down with me to sew, sniffing and then rolling on them as if to say, "My stuff!  My smells! I'm okay now!"  She misses our basement sewing area, I'm sure, but she's fast adapting to this new space with familiar items from Kingsville as well as from the condo in Bradenton.

That's a subject for another post.  Lara of Buzzin' Bumble (you need to check out her Spoonflower fabric, a piece of which I won last week!  Woot!  Woot!) asked me today how I manage my sewing "world" between two homes.

Savannah Quilt Specs
Pattern:  Turning Twenty Around the Block
Fabric: Shangri-Là by 3 Sisters of Moda
Backing: Jacobean Joyeux/Provence by Benartex
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted on my Avanté using Sulky Blendables 30 wt and Aurifil variegated 50 wt
Size:  80.5 X 96.5"  (it shrunk 2" after quilting and washing! Might have to remeasure...)

Linking up with TGIFF on this week at Quilt Matters!