Thursday, November 7, 2019

TBT #23 Slip Into Autumn

Welcome to TBT for November! I have an absolutely favourite autumn quilt to write up today. From its name to its fabric (controlled scrappy, my fave) to its vibe and soft hand, I love it.

This is a Joanna Figueroa pattern from American Patchwork & Quilting in the naughts of 2000. Maybe 05 or 06? I finished it in September 2007 according to my label. I could comb through my collection to find the exact issue, but...renovations, sigh....magazines are packed up in some box somewhere.

This shot, although crooked, is a better rendering of the true colours of the quilt. It was just after 6 pm, so evening light. Look at the one below, which I just love!
I was trying to capture texture when I noticed the setting sunlight on the top of the English oak which is still mostly green as of today, November 7. These were taken October 28.

I've been a subscriber to AP&Q for over 20 years. My goal is to be in their magazine one day soon. Tried once, got a no, so we shall see. "Fall down seven times, stand up eight" is a Japanese proverb that I first encountered in the frontispiece of The Eternal Spring of Mr. Ito, a novel about the internment of Japanese Canadians in WWII in Canada, and evacuees from London and its environs. I used to teach it in my grade 7 Language Arts classes. Excellent proverb, excellent book.

I love the soft colours in Joanna's quilt and decided I had to make it, and with my own stash of fabrics as much as I could. I had already picked up while trawling through (fishing metaphor intended) various quilt shops on various bus and private quilt shop hops a few fat quarters of the soft peaches, which are Moda, and I had scraps from my 'Trip Around Alberta' (okay, went to get a link to this throwback quilt I'd made in 2000, and I've not written about it, so guess that may be the one for December!).  The soft green with embossed dots you see on the top star on the left was a scrap from my mum's 70th birthday quilt; I spy an olive green kitty cat Buggy Barn fabric, a pale green striped one I bought at my LQS that was too white and the co-owner suggested I tea dye it which I did, a scrap from a guild block exchange.... Oh my love for scrap quilts runs deep!

I pieced and quilted it on my Bernina. The blocks are done with HSTs and are 12" finished, though when I measured them just now they are 11.5" due to quilting and washing! For the quilting, I used a lot of Kathy Sandbach's leaf designs. She, well her books, and her appearance on HGTV's Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson, along with quilt basting spray changed my quilting LIFE.

Yep, I've stitched my name or initials in quilts for a long time.
Man I love these leaves. And done on my DSM. It is possible to quilt big quilts and quilt fancy motifs on a DSM my friends! No drawing here either, just FMQ, and looking at and copying Kathy's designs. I remember aiming for about a leaf per square, and they are 6" finished squares.

The backing is quite the find. This is a bit washed out in colour. The shot above is perfect to show its unique shade: is it green? is it beige? is it kind of mustardy-yellow? It's all of the above.
I went to Sisters, Oregon to the outdoor quilt show, on a bus trip in the summer of 2006. WHAT an experience; go if you ever get the chance. I loved it all, the bus trip down, where we stopped at a couple of quilt shops, one on the way down in Tacoma and another on the way back in Seattle (where yup we also hit the, I mean THE fish market, Pike Place). I have photos, lots and lots of them...

Renovations, sigh.
(it's becoming my catch-all phrase)
They are in some box, somewhere...

Anyhow, the following year, MacGyver and I, along with puppy Naala did a camping trip back, but not for the show; I just knew he'd love the drive and the scenery, and he did. I just realized you can see a photo of us on the 07 Oregon trip in my Postcard Swap post. Well, of course I went back to Sisters on that camping trip, and outside of the store was a bushel basket of sale fabric. There was the perfect backing I was looking for in those muted colours! And there was plenty on the bolt. I took it in and asked for however many yards I needed, and when she unrolled it, whose fabric was it? Joanna Figueroa's! No wonder it was perfect! I literally did a little jump for joy and then explained to the girl why I was so excited about it.

That's the trip where an American bookstore owner (of course I also go in bookstores as well, duh) said to me, "You're Canadian? You're lucky; you have playgrounds."
I was like, "Pardon?" He said, "Yes. You have real playgrounds with real fun exciting equipment for kids to play on."
I was again like, "Well, yeah, that's a playground... You don't have them here?" And he replied, "Not like that anymore. We used to..... Too many lawsuits. Took out all the equipment now. Our playgrounds are boring."
I've never forgotten that conversation. It's sad. 'nuff said.

Better colour here. That massive tree I have found out, is a Norway maple. It's now nearly bare thanks to a horrific windstorm that blasted through here on Halloween. Also bare is our patio table; the same wind grabbed the umbrella you see peeking above the quilt in some shots, tried to spirit it away à la Mary Poppins, didn't quite succeed, but booted the table and umbrella over, taking out three of the rungs on MacGyver's deck railing (he was able to fix them) and smashing the round glass tabletop to smithereens, sob.

You can see how well the fabrics in the top go with the backing. I did a pretty good job not having any of her fabric until after the quilt was done to compare, just the magazine photos. The binding is machine-stitched to the front and hand sewn down to the back and it's holding up just fine and goes on our bed each fall for a month or two. At that time I did not know you 'were allowed' to stitch a binding on on both sides by machine!

The label:

I am so glad I am so anal about labelling my quilts. And may I say I am so glad I have such an ample stash. You can see how long I've been collecting, that 12 years ago I could put together a decent-sized quilt with just a little retail enhancement needed. Someone once said a quilter's stash is like a painter's palette: you wouldn't have just a handful of paints, you need a plentiful selection. And I've liked and followed that thought process ever since! I absolutely LOVE combing through my stash and scraps and putting together colour combinations; it's true therapy for me, like meditation, and really it is in that meditative contemplative vein that makes creative juices flow and truly feels like a balm for my soul. Just thinking about myself doing that gives me that inner smile my first Yin yoga teacher used to talk about.

Okay where was I? lol

It really is as soft and snuggly as it looks in the photo. Now I hope you will pull out a quilt you made before you started your blog or your Instagram and tell us a bit about it with photos and words. I think it's so important that we record our makes, and the stories that accompany them.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Slip Into Autumn by Joanna Figueroa
Size: approximately 69.5 X 79.75"
Fabric: stash, scraps and some purchased
Backing: Joanna Figueroa for Moda
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced on my Bernina with most likely Gütermann and/or Mettler cotton; quilted with Sulky Blendables and an off-white Sulky rayon (These are pretty much all I ever quilted with up until getting my longarm)

Next month the linkup will be at Andrée's Quilting & Learning - What a Combo! This will be her last time hosting it. I'd like to thank her so much for helping out this year; I appreciate her doing that as well as writing up her own pre-blogging quilts!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


  1. Another phenomenal post, Sandra! I am constantly amazed at your memory for all the details. I love the story of your backing find. It sounds like you had a witchy wind on Halloween. I bet the sound of all that mayhem was alarming. We lost the rest of our leaves today after a full night of freezing temperatures. The leaves just went “foomp.” It was fun to watch, as well as the squirrel that was stuffing its face with maple seeds. I sat by the deck doors for the longest time. Ah, so much to love about autumn.

  2. Very pretty, love the soft colors. I love your comments about having a stash. I'm pulling fabrics for this year's Bonnie Hunter's mystery and it's been such fun to pull out different combos from the stash. Well except now I can't decide which set I like best!

  3. A pretty quilt with soft scrappy colours. Stash shopping is fun!

  4. I would do that, but I was blogging before I started quilting.

  5. I sympathize with the demise of your patio table. We've lost 2 tables to wind events. One flipped over the deck railing (umbrella had been left open) and smashed on the ground. I picked little pellets of glass out of the garden below for years. And two years ago the other table was stored leaning against the house wall. The wind whipped it around, entangling the legs in the deck spindles. Twisted the legs and broke the clips that secured the table and yes, broke two of the spindles. Now we have no table (but no shade on the deck either due to tree removal, but that's another story). And I also admire you're ability to reconstruct the details about these long ago quilts.

  6. Your FMQ leaves are wonderful on this piece! Swirling around the edges just like they're doing right now on the Tombigbee River :)

  7. I love this quilt, and the story behind it. I expect someday that you will be in AP&Q, and I will be happy dancing with you :-) Finding that backing was synchronocity - what fun!


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