CQA block quilts

Here are two little quilts that have just come to life! I’m tempted to call them Romulus and Remus, but I leave the naming to the new owners. 71783162_10217952955550052_3919930803252887552_nThis January the Canadian Quilters’ Association challenged quilters to make a block a week for 52 weeks. Free instructions for each 6″ block, designed by Jacquie Philpott, appeared every Tuesday morning and were available for a few weeks. They were well written instructions for charming blocks, doable by even beginning quilters. Always in search of a challenge, I went straight to my stash and started cutting.

I love yellow. I love red. Back in January, there was probably still some Christmas red on the cutting mat, and there was certainly some yellow from a yellow and grey quilt there. I’d make scrappy yellow, red and white blocks. For the first block, I found a princess. And then there were some bluebirds… And a geisha…And gnomes…

72111676_10217952971990463_5872695627783077888_nThe year progressed and I kept up with the blocks, even if I sometimes made three at a time. They were fun. I finished ten, twenty, thirty blocks. And then I was done.

By late August I was in the throws of Charlotte construction, and the unfinished blocks of the Summer Sampler 2019 were weighing heavily on my mind. I had also committed to the Wonderful Woodland quilt along, and that was about to start. Why was my hobby causing me grief? Surely, it should bring me joy. I needed to declutter. Those blocks had to come off my to do list.

I spent much of last year finishing UFOs. I certainly didn’t get them all finished, but I resolved there would be no new ones created, so the already constructed CQA blocks had to be dealt with.

I took 20 and arranged them into rows, alternating with a cute print from my stash that reminded me of Richard Skerries’ books.72312547_10217952953990013_6777738403480862720_n

When I was left with 10 blocks, I made a few more, and combined them with the last of that print and the trimmings from the back of Charlotte.

72394592_10217952954390023_8682247110071943168_nI pieced backs from flannel, quilted them in a very relaxed fashion, and bound them with stripes. This morning, I threw them in the washer and dryer, and took them out to play in the garden. Possibly I should have played first and washed second, but it’s too late now. The pictures are done. I think I avoided the bird poop on the wharf.72297198_10217952954550027_2132996671770984448_n

As you can see, our leaves are changing. I couldn’t resist the look of red and yellow quilts in yellow dogberry trees. And of course, they had to have wharf pictures taken. See? The leaves are changing across the pond, too.



Then, because I painted the railing on my deck this summer for the express purpose of taking quilt pictures, I took one there. It’s a bit dark, but doesn’t that railing look good?72275119_10217952955630054_3192471293018505216_n

Here they are, the little darlings. I think they’re on their way to some neighbours with a three year old and a new baby where, please God, they’ll bring joy.

Happy quilting.

Linking up with Dione, the Clever Chameleon.

and Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation.


















Charlotte is a fabulous girl. She is smart and quirky and funny and kind and driven and warm and just the kind of person we want our daughters to be. She has been my daughter Margaret’s colleague, study buddy, and  partner in crime as they navigated the five years of  Anesthesia residency together.  More than a year ago, Margaret asked me to make Charlotte and her fiancé, Jeffrey, a wedding quilt. What could I say? Yes, but it won’t be a bed sized one.

This is Charlotte, the quilt. 70335153_10217757109374020_4930567024960077824_nIt’s always a little challenging to make a quilt for someone else, especially someone whose taste you don’t really know. This time the decisions came in stages.

I saw Charlotte and Jeffrey on Boxing Day. They were wearing t-shirts that they had given each other. Both were light grey. The quilt clearly needed a light grey background; it’s Kona silver. Like its owners, it would be modern and classy.

After a few false starts, Margaret and I found a quilt pattern, Les Amis, by Shelley Cavanna, the 2018 BOM from Bluprint, that we both liked, although we weren’t sold on the suggested palette. There was a bit of a vintage feel to it, that we thought Charlotte would like. I paid a month’s membership and downloaded it.  In February, I spotted the Tilda Applebutter fabric at Quiltcon, sent a picture of it to Margaret, who happened to be with Charlotte, and got immediate approval. I filled my cart with fabric, and headed through customs with a smile on my face. I’m pleading the fifth amendment here about the reason for my smile. After all, I was at the American/Canadian border after a quilting meeting.

You would think that, having found fabric and pattern, making the quilt would be absolutely straight forward. Far from it. Never in my 15 years of quilt making have I ever struggled with colour the way I struggled this winter. I tried multiple combinations and created some terrific cushions. I made blocks that I cut up for scrap quilts because they were too ugly for cushions. I dragged out a least fifty fabrics looking for four families of three that would work together.

I eventually determined that each block needed to be a single colour family. I found three families. There were four different block designs alternating in the pattern. I realized that the fabric I had bought for the background blocks didn’t work, and put Charlotte’s favourite fabric there instead. That looked nice, but I hadn’t bought enough fabric. No worries: I’d order more. My original supplier was sold out, but there was some in Australia. Yippee! Gotta love the internet. 70700414_10217761459282765_4955312500510818304_nI made a green block. It couldn’t hold its own. By now I was sending desperate texts to my friend Gillian, @sewgolly. Not only is she an early riser who is willing to give an opinion at 6am, she has an excellent eye and formal education in colour theory. She told me the green didn’t work because it was a secondary colour and the others were primary. I could put in orange and purple. I didn’t want to put in orange and purple. Feeling spitey, I decided to go with only three kinds of blocks.

Then it was time to decide on a new layout, since the original one wouldn’t work with three colours. That was when Gillian pointed out that a 1:1:1 composition wouldn’t work, because of the difference in intensity of the blocks. I’d need more yellow than red and blue to achieve a balance. Well, sh*t. At least I was getting an education. I made a bunch of blocks and put them on my design floor.

Much as I love the blue blocks, putting one in the centre didn’t work. Nor did a yellow or a red. I contemplated making a single block with all three colours, but for a joke, put the green block in. Yes!!! Now the balance was good. All four kinds of blocks were present. I could put on a ring of blue blocks and be done.70351298_10217761416721701_8277937962776264704_nIt was a nice quilt. But I had a bunch more blocks made, the quilt was a little small, and the green block looked like it had blown in from another quilt. On went another ring of yellow, red and green. And then, because in this case, blue is best, I added a border of blue. That border also meant that my points wouldn’t lose a battle with binding. Here is flimsy Charlotte on my clothesline, all 102 x102 inches of her.  So much for not making a big quilt.

The quilting began. I had no idea how I wanted to quilt her, other than that I wanted the grey to recede with dense quilting, and the colours to be prominent. As a result, there are several different dot to dot variations in each colour, but I convinced myself it only added to the charm. The grey is pebbles and swirls. In all, she took 18 prewound bobbins of glide thread, and many hours to complete, but I was happy with her. There was no room for a binding that demanded attention; it’s the same blue as the border. I sewed it down by hand, just in time for a quick wharf shot, before the two of us headed to Nova Scotia.71032156_10217757105613926_5172947366801571840_nShe made her debut at the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild’s meeting. The photo credit for this shot of me bowing to Charlotte goes to Gillian, as does credit for some of the other shots, and the editing of some of the ones that I took. 70602519_10217757105813931_7479831201209909248_n

She enjoyed the garden of the cottage at White Point where we had a early birthday celebration for Christine, @grandbankquilter. 70372439_10217757108133989_739392458391027712_nShe threw down her last challenge at the beach. How do you photograph a huge quilt in the wind?

Well, you get some friends…71140193_10217757105933934_3987470005796077568_n

Or find a big rock…70582850_10217757107053962_1606837661610278912_nYou can even hang it from a balcony, with the help of those friends. How many people does it take to photograph a quilt? Four. Three to hold it and one to take the picture. (Sherri, @violetquilts, is the person in the middle). 70385676_10217757108013986_5777362648190418944_nBut certainly, the most fun is when your quilt makes friends with your friend’s quilt. 70176008_10217757107013961_2455469546568417280_nHere they are, Charlotte and Margie’s Swap together.

Gillian’s Margie’s Swap has some of Gillian’s blocks and some made by her good friend Margie (known on Instagram as @redwood165). Charlotte is the celebration of the love of the quilt’s namesake and her husband, Jeffrey, but also of another friendship, that of my daughter and the newly weds. There they are, each lovely in her own way. Each making the world a warmer, happier place.

The wedding is underway as I type this story of struggle and success. I hope that Charlotte and Jeffrey are blessed with good fortune, good friends and a happy life together.

Linking up with Dionne, the Clever Chameleon and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Building a Home II

67767392_10217474759115440_2898006054577111040_nBuilding a Home is finished!

Back in June, I blogged about Building a Home, and its construction ups and downs. I am happy to report that it has been quilted, bound and delivered.

I am a procrastinator. I have known for months that the wedding celebration was today, August 10. The top has been finished for two months. The backing has been washed and ironed and ready to go for ages. When did I start quilting it? Thursday, August 8. Now, I did start at 5am since I had already lain in my bed, wide awake, trying to decide how I would quilt it, for an hour. You see, the reason I hadn’t done it before was that I had no idea how to quilt it. That, and the fact I was immersed in another wedding quilt, and the Summer Sampler 2019, and I had company, and it’s finally summer…You get the picture.

My plan was to have vertical lines for the 2×4 blocks and something else in the log cabin blocks, so I started. I found the vertical lines a bit dull, so every block or two I added a small section of a different motif. There are hearts, and circles, and houses, and dot to dots, and waves… The scattered blocks from the Square hole, round peg pattern by Poppyprints got flowers, each one a little different from the others. Then I got to the two block high section of those blocks, and thought I would do a giant feather, but the area was just too big for that. I had my circle rulers handy from making the Oasis block of the Summer Sampler 2019, so I thought I’d try to make a couple interlocking rings, and work outwards from there.67708294_10217474759035438_8141373009379196928_n

I finished the quilting and trimming late that afternoon and took it to the wharf for some shots. I was worried that rain was coming, and I wanted to be sure I had a record of the quilting.

I turned it over so the quilting would show even more clearly.

I then headed to my LQS in a successful hunt for the binding. Thank goodness it had a particularly late opening that night. The fabric came home, went through the washer and was attached. I even managed to find the time to sew it down by hand, despite a few distractions. My visiting daughter, Maura, the sommelier, paired a beautifully aged Chenin from Niagara with our feast of excellent Indian food. It was delicious. And was followed by a nap. 67932746_10217474761315495_7357937254800556032_n

I finished the binding this morning, and commandeered the visitors (aka Maura and her girlfriend, Maris) to hold the quilt for some pictures.

It hadn’t seemed windy, but it clearly was, so I retreated to the shelter of the garden. The picture on the left looks like I am trying to cover up something. The one on the right is better.

Photoshoot complete, I rolled up the quilt and wrapped it in a ribbon. My daughter is giving it to her good friends today, along with a lovely bottle of wine and all the good wishes in the world. Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Mr. Walrus

Meet Mr. Walrus, my latest quilt, created during Quilting Gail’s baby quilt marathon.

66762262_10217289620167082_8453995917849133056_nBack in her early university days, my older daughter, Margaret,  taught sailing at a YMCA camp in the Finger Lakes of New York. Her second in command, Annie, was a hilariously funny, sweet girl; they rapidly became bosom buddies. When Annie got married, Margaret was a bridesmaid. When Margaret got married, Annie was her Master of Ceremonies. At that wedding, I met Annie’s husband, who responded with, “You’re the person who made the beautiful quilt we sleep under every night. Thank you. ” Did a quilter ever hear sweeter words? Here’s a picture of it, from my pre-blogging days. It’s Hampton’s Quilt Pattern from It’s Sew Emma.  img_1081.jpgThe stitch and flip construction method of the pattern resulted in a number of cut off  triangles. I sewed them together and hoarded them. When Annie’s first son was expected, I was ready. I trimmed those triangles, sewed them together, added an Elizabeth Hartman Preppy the Whale, and made him a quilt. Here it is, plunked on a bed for a quick picture before being gifted. DSCN1617Fast forward a couple years and Annie is pregnant again. The triangles have all been used up, but never fear, fabric hoarder is here. I had taken the remaining scraps and cobbled them into an improv piece of fabric, and had put aside a few of the larger leftovers, along with other fabric from the same collection. I had the makings of a quilt.

If one child had gotten a whale, the other needed an impressive sea creature too. Elizabeth Hartman came to the rescue again. This is her Walrus, from her North Stars pattern. He took a while to cut out, but the piecing was absolutely straight forward; I highly recommend her patterns. You do need to label the pattern pieces as you cut them; I use masking tape and a pen.

Before long, Mr. Walrus was complete, and I was challenged with putting him into a quilt. I was slow; indecision plagued me.  It took me more than an hour to move from the picture on the left to the one on the right. All that time for a few half square triangles and some scraps!

I decided to add some love, in the form of hugs and kisses (o’s and x’s), but they needed a little definition, so I added some narrow partial borders.


Then it was time to slice up the improv fabric slab and add it. The top corner got a star for interest and inspiration, to make up for a shortfall in the fabric, and to balance the design a bit. Amazing what one simple star can do!

66936619_10217296580421084_4743469895834927104_nThe hunt for a backing was a little challenging since it needed to be 44′ wide. I ended up inserting a stripe into some flannel, and although I did suffer some thread breakage when quilting the centre seam, it was fine in the end. The quilting was a pretty basic loopy meander, although I did add a number of stars and hearts, and some cool hairlike texture to the walrus himself.  He was finished with some solid grey binding, attached by machine and sewn down by hand.

The weather here has been wet and cool for days now, but finally it cleared and Mr. Walrus had his photo taken. First he went to the Marine Sciences Centre, but his friends, the seals, were unavailable.67267131_10217289619607068_8815933657991610368_n

Off he went to a nearby beach and relaxed on the rocks.

Isn’t it interesting the difference light makes? The sun had just done down behind the hill in the right picture, but still lit up the rocks in the left one nicely.


The quilt was finished on June 13 after 15 hours work. Thanks to Quilting Gail’s marathon,  I have completed two baby quilts this month. To fill up the last .7 hour of the 26.2, I cut pieces for another. They are now in my leader/ender basket. Marathon completed.

Linking up with Quilting Gail and Susan’s Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication.

City Baby

66610279_10217242119259589_3202465763520675840_nCity Baby is finished and ready for her new owner. Who would have thought the quilt would be ready before the baby arrived?

Quilting Gail is hosting a Baby Quilt Marathon, so I thought I’d see how much progress I could make in 26 hours, and took note of time spent sewing. It turns out I am a slower quilter than I thought. Traditionally, particularly with slow surgeons, to determine the length of time of time of an operation, you take the surgeon’s estimate of time required, double it, add half an hour, and you’ll have the actual time required. I must be fair and add that there are many surgeons in whom this calculation is not required; those are the ones with insight. There are more who need a clock replaced with a calendar, but this is not the place for that discussion. I now realize that, had I done surgery instead of anesthesia, I would be completely deluded about how long it would take for me to do a case. Still, like them, I eventually finish the job, and City Baby is now complete.

Several years ago, my daughter’s good friend got married and I made a wedding quilt. It was modelled after Zen Chic’s  Shine Through  pattern, but I pieced multiples of Tula Pink’s City Sampler blocks in place of appliquéd fabric. Here it is. Do you recognize any Kaffe Fassett fabric? Do you recognize me?IMG_0111

When the quilt was finished, I took the leftover blocks and bits (there were more than a few since I was playing with layout as I went), and put them in a bag. This spring there was happy news that the young couple was expecting a daughter, and I pulled out those bits to make a baby quilt for them. I took them to a Guild retreat, and assembled the flimsy. 66436198_10217239130904882_6518524074761650176_nI was trying for colour progression, like the parents’ quilt. Unlike that one, this has a straight setting with sashing and corner stones. But then, a child has recognizable bits from its parents, in a unique combination. I questioned the corner stones, but after consultation with fellow quilters and my daughter, they went in. With judicious cutting, the Tula Pink High Tidein aquamarine, from the Zuma collection, worked well for them, and added to the colour/ value movement. The flimsy was finished and put aside.

Then came the baby quilt marathon, and I finished it. It took me 10 1/2 hours to choose backing, load the quilt, quilt it, trim it, choose and attach binding and sew it down by hand.

These were my binding options. The pink “boob” fabric, hey dot, by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic, was an obvious choice; it’s much closer to lavender in reality. I bought it on sale last month at Avonport Discount Centre, a worthwhile stop if you’re in Nova Scotia, Canada. My daughter pointed out that the motif was very much on trend, with it’s nod to female empowerment. Perfect for today’s baby girl. I must add that while I heartily embrace the movement away from colour stereotyping, the quilt felt very blue for a girl. I was thrilled to find a terrific pink binding. Showing my age, I am.

Summer is finally here, so I took the quilt pondside to sew down the binding. At my friend Gillian’s suggestion, I tried Sulky Blendable thread for the job, and loved it.


After more than three hours, the quilt was finished. It needed it’s photo shoot.

Here it is in the morning light. The sun washed out the colours a bit, but side light in the early morning certainly showed the texture of the quilting.


On its way back to the house, I passed some ajuga that I’m leaving unmowed until the flowers are gone. The bees love it.66577175_10217239142265166_4449857693733093376_nKitty Wilkin, the Night Quilter, told us that evening light was lovely and warm for quilt photos, so I took it to the nearby beach at sunset. I’m trying really hard to apply some of the tips she shared in her photography workshop at Quiltcon.

So, I missed the rule of thirds and the quilt was shaded, even if the sky was lovely. I moved the quilt.

Better, but I really needed more light, so I looked around and saw a fence that was brighter. 66214573_10217239146585274_6152539620727848960_nAnd that’s a wrap.

Linking up with Quilting Gail. This is my half way report on the Baby Quilt Marathon. With 10 1/2 hours on this quilt, and another 6 to date on another, I’m well past the half way point.