It started in March 2015 when I saw LeeAnna's cow block that she'd made for Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge at soscrappy for that year. Ding! Ding! I knew I had to make a cow quilt for my aunt. I am so happy and proud to have another Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt done!
The first two blocks, the blue and the pink, were made in record time. Then the cows sat for awhile as I concentrated on other things. I finished the flimsy in January this year. I knew it wouldn't get quilted until we were back home, and my longarm, Avril, was set up in my sewing loft.
|Anti-clockwise from the blue (January) girl: pink (February), Citron (March-yellow), purple (April), Ethel -(May-green) and Carib (June-aqua)|
|Anti-clockwise from the bull, a tad out of calendar order, the bull is Jethro Tull, black (August), Bloody Mary, (August-red), orange (September), Kahlua, (October-brown), lime (November) and Myrrh Tull, main wife of Jethro (December).|
After I taught yoga in the late afternoon, I drove to my beloved, much-missed Lakeside Park and did the main photo shoot. A glint of sun, glowering clouds over Lake Erie to the south, but I and the quilt persevered.
The cows went to the beach:
They perched on a bench with a little encouragement:
They frolicked in the hydrangeas:
Man the gardens here are stunning this year. Our horticultural club has done amazing work, just ahh-mazing. Here's just one shot that doesn't do the riot of colour justice:
|Can you spy the lake through the distant trees?|
The quilt label is fashioned from some Laurel Burch purple paws fabric I got from Jake, a sweet reader who has become a dear friend, and also from border scraps. The label itself was given to me by another aunt, cousin to Auntie Irene. All in the family, eh?
I quilted a few surprises in the quilt. Here is one:
The barn block got some special treatment too:
Well, since I didn't finish this post yesterday as planned (but our granite countertops got installed!!), and it is now a most glorious morning, I took a few post-wash shots. Here is the barn block:
|Still very windy today|
Avril just hummed a merry tune as we quilted together. I changed threads a lot, perhaps the most of any quilt I've quilted so far.
|The majority of threads are Essential from Connecting Threads cottons, one Sulky rayon, one Aurifil cotton, two Exquisite polyester, and all the swirly background and churn dash blocks were quilted with So Fine.|
Here's another I always like, the rolled or folded up shot:
I know I need to do a comparison post of the various battings I've used. For this quilt I used Warm n Natural and I am in love with it all over again. Light, but warm, lovely to quilt through and lovely texture after washing. Speaking of texture, don't you love the design etched into the stone bench?
This quilt will be leaving me shortly, sniff. I know it's going to a good home, where it will be much-loved and, much-used (I will make sure to tell my aunt that!) This might be a big part of why there are many photos in this post, that and the fact that I've fallen horns over hooves in love with it and want to record every bit of it...
I free-motion quilted a simple flowing lazy daisy and leaves motif in the border. I showed you how I do the rolling forward, rolling backward on a longarm in this post. There you'll get the tutorial for how to stitch the churn dash blocks in one pass, no breaks, either on a domestic machine or a longarm.
I machine-stitched the binding to the front and then machine-stitched it to the back from the front, by stitching in that ditch. This is my preferred method of binding a quilt, as it most resembles the hand-stitched to the back method. Gluing it down to the back side is key to catch that edge with my stitching! The little bit of stitching you see on the right is the stay-stitching done on the longarm, which I need to sit and pick out; I always match the thread used to stitch the backing down with both the border and the binding fabrics so it's next to invisible.
Was I happy and vindicated, as I said on Instagram earlier this week, that I hang onto fabrics that are several years old! This binding fabric I picked up in a sale section of a quilt shop in Fort Myers, FL maybe 7-8 years ago! I knew it would work some day as a great binding or a backing. I already used it for that very thing in Uncle Frank's con fuoco quilt!
StorytimeNot only does this quilt have a lot of meaning and symbolism for the recipient, is also has a bit of a story all of its own. This quilt has brought into my life a most cherished person, someone I would not have met had I not started this blog, and written of things dear to my heart, shared personal stories, thoughts and beliefs, not just of my soul, but of my quilts. Helen of Word Weaver Art found my blog when she saw a photo of a one of my cow blocks pinned on Pinterest.
You need to go check out painter extraordinaire Helen's blog, especially her cow paintings (that takes you to a recent one of Cookie Dough). Helen started commenting on a few of my posts, and we started to really connect, I mean really. What at first appeared to be two women with little in common (she tells the story so well in this post) soon proved to be a deep connection on multiple levels. We talked about process, colour, teaching, reading, writing(!), life after 50 and after retirement, and more. She has watched and loved my herd of cows slowly grow over 2+ years, and now be finished.
I mentioned that not all the cows have names. She thought I should name each one of them, and I heartily agree. On the Jethro Tull the Bull post, she actually wrote a limerick for his favourite wife, sexy Myrrh Tull, pictured below, bottom right...
The Christmas cow known as Myrrh Tull
Could never be thought of as dull,
She was brazen and bold
With her eyes of gold
Mooing "Come hither" to Jethro the bull.
Nita of Nita Dances wrote, (I've added a word here and there so the rhythm is correct for limericks--didn't teach 'em to my grade 7's for well over a decade without having the form cemented in my brain, ha):
Old Jethro the bull
Massive head hanging low
Shuffled over to Myrrh Lynn Tull:
"I do say my dear,
I don't mean to leer,
But your udder is stunningly low."
Lara of Buzzin' Bumble chimed in with a little naughty poetry after that:
Jethro may be small, but he can handle his harem;
It's a good thing you only sewed his head--
Because his dangly bits could scare 'em!
Helen wrote another limerick, this one for Bloody Mary, top left in the photo above:
The red cow is named Bloody Mary
She is difficult and quite contrary.
Her nostrils may flare
And cause Sandra to swear
Which is totally unnecessary!
Helen it was who said each cow needs a name, and in looking back I see that the turquoise one named herself, a bit of a pun too, Carib. Short for Caribbean and for carob that comes from there. Of course you know the yellow one named herself Citron. Each one needs a story of sorts, and wouldn't it be something to see a children's book with each cow featured in her own story, the quilt of them all at the end, with instructions for a doting nana to make one?! Helen's idea again, my additions to it...oh the possibilities when great minds, and creative spirits collide! I've witnessed and been a part of this time and again, mainly through my teaching career, but also outside of it.
|Cows hanging out on the bridge|
Well, that block led to this:
Quite the story this quilt has! The cows have travelled back and forth to Florida, some of them twice, and soon will hop onto a plane with my husband to be delivered (finally!) to the birthday girl.
Pattern: cows are by Piecemeal Quilts; bull is from Quilting in Amsterdam; barn is basically my own, explanation is here; layout is my own design.
Size: 68.5 X 71.75" after laundering: 65.5 X 68.5 (wow! 3" shrinkage!)
Fabric: scraps from my stash; background and border are purchased, Moda 'Swirls' and Red Rooster 'Mementos' by Gudrun Erla respectively. Backing is Windham Fabrics 'Farm Chic' by Kate McRostie and elizabeth's studio by Willow Creek
Batting: Warm n Natural
Quilted: on Avril my Avanté
Threads: pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Superior Threads So Fine 50 wt #403, Essential 50 wt cotton by Connecting Threads, Sulky Rayon, Aurifil 50 wt cotton, and Exquisite polyester.
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Busy Hands Quilts
Cooking Up Quilts