Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Delia, the strings Card Trick quilt you've seen a few times, is done.
This is actually a very true photo as far as the colours go; the sun had just set.  This was an unplanned RSC project, from the book Classic to Contemporary String Quilts by Mary M. Hogan. It's a great book: my trees quilt, The Final Season was adapted from it, and my main RSC project is also from the book. I am focusing on strings this year because they are exploding.

They are still exploding. I loved the movement in her quilt, loved the black, grey and white with the pink she had used. I planned to switch out the white for another RSC colour.You've seen the quilt in a few previous posts, where I explained how it kind of grabbed me as a DrEAMi (Drop Everything And Make it) tends to do, though it wasn't a true DrEAMi, because I didn't solely chase it until it was done, though it did consume me for entire days here and there over the past two months because it was just so addictive.

So I needed a fourth colour, and very nearly did do yellow, the February colour, but green had been tapping me on the shoulder first. When I saw the Inspiration Collaboration photos, that solidified the green feeling, so this is also going to be linked up there. If you ever feel the need for a springboard for colour inspiration, head there! When I was thinking of a name for the quilt, even though I didn't do a cloth label, I thought of the dahlias I used to have in our Alberta garden (need to get some for here). The protagonist in the book I'm reading is named Delia, and a whimsical, 'I should name the quilt Delia' popped in my head. And so it is!

Sharp right turn for a moment: Now Delia is Dee-lia; but a few months ago I heard from Dayna that the flower I've long said day-lia is pronounced in Michigan as dah-lia. Is this a US midwestern thing? An eastern Canada thing? In Alberta we said, and my English mum said, day- . So let me know because Dayna is convinced that day-lia is wrong.

Anyhow, I love the effect, love what I dreamed up to widen the quilt, and love the overall process of making it. 

And of course I want to make another! I quilted a relaxing all-over large meander of jigsaw puzzle shapes with Essential 100% cotton thread in Stone. I just had to add a little pizzazz in the green square. See the pop in the photo below:
Wish I'd had that idea when I quilted through the pink square. I had loaded the quilt 'upside down', not that there really is a top and bottom, though I think of the pink at the top, so I'd already quilted through the pink. Ah well, all good. I'll do it on the next one!

Here is the back:

I looked through my greens and found this beautiful Hoffman International, not quite a yard left from a quilt I made for a good friend's wedding in 2004 I believe. I thought the beige and pink other chunk (no info) worked well with it. It feels good to use up entire chunks like this! Here it is in this morning's early sun, so interesting how the angle of the sun changes the colour, but this shows how the two tones work so well together, so I thought it worthwhile including. And there is that texture from just a simple meander.

I dug through my binding scraps and was able to pull several greens, pinks, greys and blacks to make a scrappy binding. I trimmed the quilt a scant 1/8" wider all around so as not to lose the card trick points, and I sewed the binding onto the front first so the 1/4" seam would not cut them off either. Then I topstitched it down from the back side which leaves a line of stitching on the front but it blends in fine on the quilt, and I tried to have it so it would be as close to the ditch as I could get, even though I was stitching from the underside of the quilt. Clear as mud I'm sure.

A quick note as to how I widened Mary's quilt without doing traditional borders as she had in her book. I wanted 6" more so it would be 42" wide. I hit upon the square in a square to mimic the card trick block, and made two between the centre two blocks. The green and pink squares are cut 4 3/4" and the grey background squares come from a 5 1/2" square cut twice on the diagonal. 
Again I wanted that overall sort of diamond shape layout to the quilt. So putting the two blocks together in the  top and bottom rows meant I needed 3" finished on either side. I could have just done a 3 1/2" plain grey strip but then hit upon the idea of sewing a few more strips together for interest. As improv style often does, it evolved into the asymmetrical placement of the strip sets, so I have two on one side and one on the opposite side.

Full disclosure: not ALL the snow is gone; that's the pile from shovelling off the lower deck, and there is a bit here and there in shaded areas.

I will be taking this to my friend Tammy who will send it off to either an Indigenous or refugee/new immigrant family as she sees fit. I trust her implicitly, as she is the head of our Children's Aid, and knows where the need is, though I am never privy to whom the quilt goes. It's enough to send out the love and hope that I sew into it, as we all do when making comfort quilts. This is one of my Hands2Help offerings this year.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Card Trick (book as above); my own layout
Size: 42" x 54"
Fabric: scraps and stash; the grey is Island Batik, a beautiful solid
Backing: leftovers in my stash
Batting: Warm 'n Natural frankenbatted with Pellon Nature's Touch both 100% cotton
Quilted: on Avril: 28 152 stitches
Threads: pieced with various; quilted with Essential cotton 50 wt

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I had another finish on the weekend, my other DrEAMi, the Valentine mini, post forthcoming!

Linking up


  1. I like the fun variation in quilting in the green square, and the side borders that you added improvisationally are a perfect frame for the quilt. Congratulations on the finish and following the fun!

  2. Peter has friends that grow dahlias competitively. For them it is dah-lia. Me? I don't know.

  3. That is such a neat design, Sandra, and I love your use of the strings to make the cards! I feel as you do - when I send a quilt to someone who needs comfort, it doesn't matter who it goes to, it just matters that it brings loce and caring to that person.

  4. You can never go wrong with green and I do believe it was the right choice for day-lia. It is a beautiful quilt!

  5. LOL.... I have to weigh in on "Dahlia." I have always heard and said "Dah-ee-ah" So I looked it up. It appears that you are using the British pronunciation.
    dahl·​ia | \ ˈdal-yə , ˈdäl- , US also and British usually ˈdāl- \
    Definition of dahlia
    : any of a genus (Dahlia) of American tuberous-rooted composite herbs having opposite pinnate leaves and rayed flower heads and including many that are cultivated as ornamentals

  6. I've always pronounced it "dah-lia", but not sure if it's a Midwestern thing or what. Love the quilt, and all the thought you put into it. I'm sure the recipients will love it, with all its happy colors.

  7. Love this quilt and so appreciate the time you take to share your process and thoughts while making it. Someone will be very happy to receive and enjoy it.

  8. It's amazing how different quilt colors appear depending on light source and orientation. No matter, it's beautiful no matter how you look at it.
    I always say dale-ya. I'll ask a friend who grows them to show. She gave me some tubers two years ago. I just checked the tubers this AM and most of them look viable. I'm going to ask for a few new ones this year. She always has more than she can plant.

  9. I think Gene has answered the query about Dahlia's - being British I say Day-lia. I have a friend who shows them over here and she too says Day-lia; never, to my knowledge, have I hear it said any other way. Now clematis...Anyway the quilt is absolutely gorgeous. Another book I will have to go and look up :-) You are such an enabler :-) The only snow we have left as the pile that was scrapped off the car park of a local supermarket, piled up in a corner - it looks awful because it is so dirty. Unfortunately a typical gloomy day in my part of Scotland today.

  10. It's lovely, Sandra, I think the colours are perfect and what a brilliant use of those long skinny pieces of fabric we all seem to amass. It is just so pretty, sorry to be redundant, but I saw it, and thought "I want that"! Made my day.
    And, I pronounce them day-lia too, and that is from my English Mom as well. I no longer worry about that stuff, after living in the U.K. for 18 years, I can't remember which pronunciation is for which country - so everyone else has to deal - as long as it's all English, anyone should be able to understand.
    Thanks again for sharing the post, love it soooo much!

  11. dah-lia
    Love the color combinations... something peaceful about it.

  12. Sandra your quilt is a beautiful finish. I’ve always said dah-lee-ya. Perhaps my armed forces upbringing travelling the world affected my pronunciation? 😉 Carol

  13. Great color play in this - well done!

  14. I really love this quilt, especially the colors you've used. Tackling my scrap bins is on my agenda for this summer, so I ordered Mary's book. Looking forward to it! Enjoy your lovely quilt.