Monday, January 29, 2024

Project Quilting 15.2 Sky Color

I got SO excited at this week's prompt for Project Quilting because I am a bit of a nut when it comes to watching the skies. I have a lot of it to see from my sewing room windows which face south, east and west. Yep tons and tons of light. Our house is pretty much like that, one of the main reasons I agreed to buy it is that it is filled with light thanks to lots of windows.

Here is where the challenge ended:

It had some definite growing pains along the way and missed the deadline by a couple of hours.

One of the things I love most about PQ challenges is getting to paw through my glorious stash. This challenge was no different. So we were to make a project that evokes sky colour (I use Canadian aka English spelling) with only 10% cerulean. Love that word, a beautiful name for the colour sky-blue. Blue is my favourite colour, so making a quilt about the sky without it at first seems strange, but not when I think of the sunset I saw Sunday night, hours after the challenge was posted. Look at those fiery pinks and oranges and the reflection in the clouds overhead. This is pure Mother Nature, no filters or enhancement.

or the sunrise on Monday, again no filters or special touchups:

I decided to use my glorious stash of Island Batik fabrics. I have always always loved batiks, but Island Batiks are just at another level imho, and no one right now is giving me free fabric to say that. So I pulled a stack of sunset/sunrise colours.

I knew I was going to make a baby quilt or maybe a small lap quilt which I like to call a 'take to yoga class' quilt. I also planned to do a kind of gradient with squares, sort of a pixelated idea of that sunrise, no real pattern, similar to that stack. 

So I started cutting 4.5” squares, thinking that if I wanted a 40” square quilt, I’d need 100 squares. It went fairly quickly especially when I could cut four layers at a time. Once I had about 40 squares I started building on the design wall. 

This was where I had troubles trying to make it work like my photos or what ‘felt’ in my head. Several people were successful though if you look at the entries in the linkup. Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts and Julie at Julie's Quilts and Costumes did what was in my head. Maybe bricks instead of squares, or a smaller piece would've been smarter. Then on Monday I got an order for a makeup bag that was not in stock so I had to switch gears and get that made and sent off, which I did on Tuesday.

And then disaster struck on Wednesday. Xena tore her ACL when she launched herself, as she has done several times, out the side door of the house and into the open passenger door to go for a car ride. We think it must have been the sharp turn she made as she leapt into the car. The vet said that's what happens: they chase squirrels and balls and run like crazy and then one small thing is the final straw. She goes in for surgery tomorrow, Tuesday. Having been through this twice before with our darling pibble Rocco, (yes, he blew out both his ACLs, almost three years to the day apart) we know it's a long road ahead, and, as I did with Rocco, I can see several weeks of sewing at the dining table so that there is always someone keeping an eye on her.

January 21, such a funny girl how she often lies like this in the Poang. Think that's the las time we saw the sunshine for more than a few minutes.

On top of this, just a few weeks ago she was diagnosed with heart disease, and had to undergo X-rays and ultrasounds to determine the problem. She's been on meds for it, and will be on a blood pressure medication for life to help her heart. You may recall when we adopted her that she had come to Canada heart worm positive; we had to take her back to Toronto twice to finish the treatment for it. She's been heart worm free ever since that first summer, and we give both dogs heart worm pills to guard against it. However the damage was clearly done and her heart doesn't work properly, which affects her lungs and her breathing; hence the ongoing issues with coughing and gagging, especially after she runs even a little bit.

Neglected SAHRR in the corner, though I know what I want to do for the first round. Also visible are the next two quilts waiting quilting, backs made and ready to load now that the challenge is done.

I don't know what it was that made me finally decide to make a pixelated heart using these squares, but that's what I did. It's the same as the Millie quilt, which used 3.5" squares, and Harper's quilt, which used 2.5" squares. I did a little bit of symmetry since I'd been cutting two squares of each fabric. Here is the flimsy, which involved a lot more reverse sewing than is usual for me, but I know it's because my concentration was off.

An attempt to get natural light onto the design wall, but too late in the day.

I found a vintage chunk of David Textiles fabric in the backing vault that would work well as the backing, and I also dug out a sunburst block I'd made several years ago when I tested a pattern for a friend. I wanted to incorporate it on the back.

Building the backing

The quilt is 44.5" wide, so I had to add a bit to the floral. The Cranston Printworks blue, another vintage one in the ''1/4 yard and less' Sterilite drawers I use to organize that size of chunks, toned in well for what I needed.

I loaded it on Avril and got the top half of the background quilted Saturday night with straight lines, using a beautiful mint green Aurifil thread, 2830, that worked well on the Island Batik background named Rice. Sunday morning after I taught yoga I went to town with the rich pink thread, 2455, I'd chosen to quilt floppy feathers over the heart. 

I finished up the background ruler work, pulled it off Avril, squared it up, and checked how much time was left in the linkup...could my time difference work in my favour? Nope. I had 15 minutes left, and so I knew there was no way I could get the binding cut and applied by the deadline. 

Love the texture! Our bed makes a great place to lay out the binding, so that no joins and up in the corners and the pops of colour I added would go on either side.

Regardless, I finished it a lot less frantically, even giving myself and whoever the quilt recipient will be, a little glimmer by popping in two bits of sunrise colours into the binding. This quilt is so soft and fluffy!

No sun for weeks and so much rain over the past few days, but the colours really shine!

SW in the corner as per usual; solid grey binding made for a soft edge as well as working well with the backing fabrics.

Under the grey skies the Rice background fabric looks more blue than grey in these outdoor photos. The inside shots are more true for this fabric's colour.

Really pleased with how well the sunburst worked on the back

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Pixelated Heart, my own method of construction
Size: 44.5” x 48.5”
Fabric: scraps and stash
Batting: Fairfield polyester
Backing: David Textiles from stash
Quilted: on Avril 50 035 stitches
Threads: pieced with Gütermann on my 1947 Featherweight; quilted with Aurifil cotton, Bottom Line in the bobbin


  1. Poor Xena! She just wanted to go for a ride! I hope she heals quickly after the surgery. Your Sky Color heart is beautiful, Sandra - I love those colors together. Even if you didn't quite make the deadline, you have a lovely finish now!

  2. Oh Sandra, I will be thinking of Xena and you this week and hoping that she does well with the ACL surgery. I think the pivot to the heart was a good choice, and what beautiful sunrise and sunsets you had a week ago. Here's to a bit more sunshine for you soon.

  3. Poor Xena! I hope she heals quickly after her surgery. Such a funny way to sit in the chair. What a character!
    Your quilt is beautiful. I love all of the colors in it. So many colors but there are so many colors in the sunrise and sunset.

  4. Poor Xena! I am so sorry to hear this. Hearts must be troublesome these hubby is having a cardioversion in a few hours to put the ticker back in its proper rhythm. Meanwhile, that quilt is perfect. Sorry you didn't make the deadline, but it is finished...a total win in my book.

  5. Very pretty, Sandra. It has all the fiery colors of the sky in it! Even though you missed the deadline, you have a great little quilt to hang now! I'm so sorry to hear poor Xena is having surgery for a torn ACL. I hope she does well.

  6. Oh what a week! Even if you didn't make the deadline for the challenge, your quilt fit the theme perfectly. Hope the surgery and recovery go well.

  7. Special hugs to Xena and you. What a week! The pixelated heart is just glorious. You have the best sunrise/sunsets. I've enjoyed seeing the results for this challenge. Moving your sewing downstairs will help Xena. Good luck to you both.

  8. That's such a stunning quilt Sandra! The pixelated heart is such a great way to use those colours.
    I hope that Xena has come through her surgery safely!

  9. I am so sorry to read about Xena's troubles and wish her a smooth recovery from surgery.
    The pixelated heart is a sweet, sweet quilt - I'm loving your inspiration.

  10. Aargh I completely forgot about project quilting, mind you I was busy that weekend with a virtual online retreat which was brilliant. Sorry to hear about Xena's problems. Love your pixelated heart and love the pops of colour in the binding; perfect. Love the assembled backing; so interesting.

  11. As if Xena (and you) haven't been through enough, noe heart problems and surgery? Oh good grief! So you're excused for missing the deadline. I think there's a place to link up projects bthat missed the deadline. Hope Xena's recovery is swift.

  12. Beautiful sky colors, and the sunrise block on the back completes it perfectly. A success in every way deadline or not. Poor Xena. She will be very comforted to know that you are experienced caregivers for recovery. I’m sure she’s living her best life with you regardless of her health issues. Hope she feels better soon.