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.

The Boathouse Quilt

62572818_10217158581211190_503893221093408768_nThis summer, much of my sewing has revolved around presents. My daughters are of an age when many of their friends are getting married and having babies, so I am thrilled to commemorate the events in fabric. They are thrilled to have me do it. One lovely young lady is getting a cushion, but I felt she was being short changed, and I thought, “I’ll make her a quilt.” She’s very socially and environmentally conscious, so I dragged out my orphan blocks with the intention of crafting them into a present. I sent this picture to my daughter, her good friend, who said, “No to the quilt, Mom. The cushion will be perfect.” Translation: “I love the cushion, but that quilt is out of control.”65396086_10217158560210665_4575262711482417152_nI can’t honestly say I blamed her, but I realized that I wanted to make the quilt. I REALLY wanted to make the quilt. I thought, “Who will want this?”. The obvious answer was, “Me.” It would live by the water, keeping me cozy in the early mornings and late evenings when I took beverages of various kinds to enjoy beside the pond. It would be my Boathouse quilt.

Talk about a dREAMi project! I dropped everything, including the cushion, and made this quilt. It took a week, start to finish, despite the fact I work most days and had a number of evening social events. We won’t discuss when I started sewing in the morning. Firstly, I turned the compass into a square. It looks like it no longer points due north, but when it is on my wharf, it does. The wharf faces north west.

The wall was too small. I moved the blocks onto the design floor. You think I’m joking? The floor has an open staircase on one side, so you can go partly upstairs and survey it. 

The arrangement on the left came first. Then I found some more orphans.  I removed the screaming curved block on the right edge and substituted a star. Some placements were obvious, like the flying geese with the flying goose, but others were not. I felt there needed to be a unifying element. There were lots of 2″ squares, but that didn’t quite do the trick. Then I discovered some strips of 1″ squares that I had assembled for another project but didn’t use. All of a sudden, I was happy. I did a little more editing as I assembled the flimsy, making changes on the fly. Partial seams and rotary cutter were keys to success.

Then I purchased some thick, very soft fleece, and some thin polyester batting and quilted it. I’m always a little leery of backing with stretchy fleece, and keep the motifs simple- I have had some very puckering experiences. This went amazingly well. There are flowers and waves and hearts and fish and a giant feather. There are even a few words, like “hen, turkey, chicken, DUCK.”  That was our chant to get reluctant swimmers in the water. It’s Ok. You don’t have to get in today. 65687728_10217158581171189_7579872354017214464_nAh, the joys of living alone! I have a sewing room and a half downstairs, but love to use the kitchen table for binding quilts. On went the plain navy; anything else was just too much for this fussy quilt. I finished hand sewing it down this morning and took it to the pond to take some pictures.

The fog was just lifting, and the light was really amazing, all bright but diffused. Here are some shots.

I’m calling it the Boathouse Quilt. Here’s the boathouse with its quilt in front.

You can just imagine me, sitting in the chair, enjoying the view.

These are the results of my change in vantage point: standing, sitting and lying.

When the sun was almost out, I tried to get some shots of the texture, but they’re not great. The quilt is quilted. You can trust me on that. 62572818_10217158581211190_503893221093408768_nBecause this is my absolutely favourite shot, I’m showing it again. And now, I must get back to that cushion.

Happy week of celebrating on both sides of the 49th parallel.

Linking up with Sandra’s dREAMi round up at mmmquilts

and Dione at the Clever Chameleon.

Black and White

This year’s Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Executive Challenge was to make a black and white quilt with a pop of colour. Here’s my response.64249993_10217065776011118_2352685631940853760_n

My first idea was to quilt the joke, “What’s black and white and red all over?” I had a fat quarter of Daily Prophet newspaper that would be prominent on the back. I needed an alphabet to make “black” and “white”, so I went on an internet hunt and arrived at Fons & Porter’s Quilting Quickly Alphabet quilt, for which there is even a video. I bought the back issue in which it appeared and went into production. 64642392_10217054849177954_7688071741368696832_nSee anything funny? Well, yes, those colours are reversed. After all, I was quilting a joke. There’s also a bit of an optical illusion when you look at the red background, especially in the “white”. For a second one morning, I wondered what I had made because the red came to the foreground, but a coffee set that to rights.

Then I added the ampersand in bias tape made with the biggest bias tape maker I could find. 64426588_10217054849417960_2581217345657634816_nNext came the rest of the background. 64451024_10217054849897972_7941266042062372864_nAs I wondered what technique to use for “What’s”, I realized I had met the challenge. I had a black and white quilt because it said “black and white”. No needle turned appliqué for me! No figuring out how to add “all over”! The top was finished. All I had to do was quilt it.

I pieced a back out of black and white fabrics from my stash and pondered the quilting. Here’s the back. My esteemed photographer, Gillian, pointed out that in this shot, the quilt looks like a nose. We then changed location. 64651039_10217065776931141_7380490613403156480_n

My original plan was to do some wild quilting with feathers and swirls and all manner of fun things in that huge negative space.

In February, I had been to Memphis for a few days before Quiltcon, and visited the fabulous National Civil Rights Museum that chronicled the civil rights struggles of blacks in America. It was located in the hotel where Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot, and was incredibly moving.  As I worked on my quilt listening to the morning news this spring, I heard terrible reports of hatred and discrimination and intolerance. Suddenly, I no longer wanted my quilt to be an easy joke, but a statement. Suddenly, that “black” in white and “white” in black were significant. And then I knew what the quilting needed to be.

I sewed parallel lines over the entire background, mimicking ruled paper, and then I added excerpts from Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech. Somehow, the words I needed to write flowed easily onto the fabric, and in no time, the quilting was done. The text is hard to capture in a picture; it is subtle, sewn, as it was, in 40wgt thread.


I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out its creed:   We hold these truths to be…all men are created equal. …When we allow freedom ring, all God’s children… black men and white men… will be able to join hands and sing…Free at last.”

After it was shown at Guild, Gillian and I took the quilt on a road trip. I wanted to photograph it by a church, in honour of the Negro spiritual that Dr. King had quoted.  We found the charming Church of St. John the Baptist in the Annapolis Valley, and she took these terrific pictures while I held the quilt.


May we all live in the freedom that Dr. King imagined.

Linking up with Beth at Love, Laugh, Quilt and Beth Sellars at Cooking up Quilts.