Out of the Mists

Happy Sunday morning! Here in Newfoundland, it’s a beautiful one. There’s a nip in the air and heavy dew, but it’s calm, with mist on the pond, and the sunny promise of a late summer day. IMG_6900  Yes, there are quilt blocks on my dock. It was such a still morning, I decided to tempt fate and took my Moda Blockheads 3 blocks outdoors to see how they looked. IMG_6898The light from the rising sun washed them out a little, but I think they are pretty sweet. Such well behaved blocks! They didn’t even lift a corner, let alone jump into the water. IMG_6902Most of the blocks have a light green background  (Honeydew for those of you who speak Kona); I wanted a change from white that would work with Zen Chic’s Hey Dot and Tula Pink’s All Stars,  but still be light. I think it’ll work, although it was getting a bit lacklustre until I added a couple blocks with different outside edges. It was just too calm and predictable. I was getting bored. 

I haven’t been sewing much for the last few months.  The nice weather drew me outside, work got busier, I had a couple short vacations, and I redecorated my bedroom, but mostly, my spirit was sucked out with Covid reports and other newsworthy miseries. I finally decided it was time to reclaim one of the great joys of my life, and get sewing. The Blockheads quilts have been calling me for years, so I started with block 30 of the latest one. I fussy cut an animal. Who can resist a sleeping fox? I was underway. Don’t know where I’m headed, but I’m underway.

For those of you in a similar frame of mind, I suggest you put away those mask patterns (not the masks. Wear them, but not in your sewing room).  Make a block. Make any block that appeals to you. Choose your favourite fabric to do it, perhaps a piece you’ve been hoarding for years, waiting for a special project. Now is the time to take your rotary cutter to it and experience the pure joy of slicing into beautiful fabric (you may need a new blade to experience that joy). It is time to embrace joy. We can’t fix the world in a day, but we can fix our sewjo. I’m not suggesting we ignore the hugely important issues of racial equality and police violence and a global pandemic, but I am declaring that mental health is hugely important too.

Stay healthy. Avoid crowds. Wear masks. Sew something exciting with fabric you love, and have FUN.









Diamonds in Leftovers

These last few months of the Covid pandemic have been challenging in all sorts of ways. When the operating rooms shut down for all but emergency surgery, I suddenly had lots of time on my hands. I decided that every day should include a walk, a nap, a bath, three meals and completion of a task that would make my life better. The first day, I cleaned out the pot cupboard. The second I sorted the shoe racks. The third day, I went to work to practice getting dressed and undressed in PPE,  decided I’d done enough chores, and started sewing. The house is still a mess.

Surprisingly, the sewing slowed down to fill the time. I felt impelled to use materials I had, to explore ideas that had been percolating for a while, but were never acted upon. I went to my bin of ziploc bags of scraps from specific projects, and selected one to see if I could make a quilt from it. Diamonds in Leftovers is the result.IMG_6432The original inspiration came from Vanessa Goertzen’s “Queen of Diamonds” from her book Jelly Filled . The striped diamonds were her idea. The framed smaller ones, sashed in grey, and the polka dot sashing, were mine. IMG_6436You may have noticed two different backgrounds. Definitely, that was a design choice. The fact that I didn’t have enough polka dots for the entire quilt is irrelevant.

In keeping with the thrifty spirit that marked the time, I used a sheet from a local second hand store for backing, even though I had just read an article on the pitfalls of using sheets for backing. I got lucky; it worked just fine. I also tried out a few new quilting motifs, from Angela Walters’ Shape by Shape, collection 2One came together easily, the other… By the time I was using it for the fifth time on a large triangle, I could do it well enough to decide I didn’t really love it. Now I know that, and if anyone looks closely enough to wonder what was going on with the quilting, they don’t deserve a quilt. IMG_6433See the offending design? It’s the wavy one. Good thing you can’t see the other 4. I did get some useful practice on Veronique, my new longarm. I kept trying to get perfect tension, but it wasn’t until I was almost finished and the needle fell out, that I realized I hadn’t pushed the new needle in far enough. No wonder the tension was off.

Never one to be afraid to make the same mistake twice, I took the little quilt to the wharf to have its picture taken. It was windy. There was almost a disaster. IMG_6437

I got my foot on it just as it prepared to jump into the water. Then it went ashore. IMG_6430Here is my Diamonds in Leftovers, all by itself, waiting for social isolation to be over, just like the rest of us.

Take care. Stay safe.

Linking up with the Clever Chameleon. and Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilts.

Quilt for Nova Scotia

What is a quilt? A hug? A warm thought? A sign that someone cares? A way to say I wish I could make it better?

IMG_6201This is my quilt for Nova Scotia.IMG_6196 (1)

On April 18-19, 22 innocent lives were lost in a mass shooting in Nova Scotia.  22 people, whose time was cut short; their loss will be felt by their children, spouses, parents, friends and neighbours. 22 people whose remains had to be found by multiple first responders. 22 families that needed to be contacted and consoled. The list of those sharing the tragedy is long.

While I live in Newfoundland, I am lucky enough to belong to the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is an amazing group of talented quilters who, over and over, demonstrate a desire to make the world a better place, one quilt or cushion or bag at a time. Within days of the shooting, the executive had organized a drive to provide quilts for those impacted by the tragedy. The response to this drive has been amazing; quilts have poured in from near and far; several hundred, including mine, should be ready for distribution at the end of June.IMG_6199

This was a true DrEAMi project; I really did drop everything and make it. I had seen  Jordan Fabrics’ Jagged X pattern, and wanted to try the block to see how it worked. That block turned into the cream border. The guild was making mostly blue quilts, to evoke the sea of Nova Scotia, so I made a couple Jelly Roll Races from strips cut from my stash, putting one chunk in the middle and the rest surrounding the X blocks. It came together quickly, was quilted with water and waves and a few hearts, and is now on its way to Nova Scotia. Hopefully, it will bring someone a little comfort.

IMG_6203Linking up with Sandra of mmmquilts for her roundup of DrEAMi projects.

Bowtie Baby

It’s time to show you what happens when I’m idle. There’ve been a few projects, although not as many as I thought I’d make in this time of working a couple days a week. Meal prep, bathing, walking and napping go a long way to filling a day. Napping is my favourite. I’m clearly getting into retirement mode. Still, there’s always sewing. Thank goodness. IMG_6033Kari of Quilts for the Making posted instructions for six inch blocks for her Scrap Snap Quilt Along, and I made a few. They’re lovely blocks and well worth a look, but they called for pieces at least 2 1/2″ square and my scraps were of all sizes. Needless to say, my blocks were soon made of those pieces of all sizes, although I did restrict their colours. I made a few and lost interest.

Not long afterwards, I was leafing through a magazine and saw bowtie blocks arranged to make circles. Can I find that magazine now? Of course not. I’d been wanting to make bowtie blocks since our Guild had had a bowtie block draw that I did not win. I set to work, and popped a few on the design wall. IMG_5393As you can see, the design wall was not empty. For once, my less than tidy ways were rewarded. I sent the picture to Gillian, aka Sew Golly, my early morning quilting consultant and friend, who commented that she liked the blocks together. Brilliant. I was off the to the races. Well no, I was off to the scrap bag. And the stash. And the flimsy was finished.

It had to wait a while to be quilted. I’ve acquired a new longarm, now known as Veronique, and it has taken me some time to learn her ways. Bowtie Baby was the second quilt I finished on her. Yesterday I took her (the quilt, not the longarm)  out and did the first pondside shots of the year.

It may be May, but we clearly still have a way to go before it’s time to swim. There’ll be no May 24 dip for this wimp. Anyone else out there game? Never mind, we’re not welcoming tourists in Newfoundland this year. You keep your covid and we’ll keep ours which, mercifully, is under control for the moment. May you all be as lucky.IMG_6021Here’s to finding joy in the little things. Like little quilts. Happy sewing.

Linking up with Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap! and Beth at theMonday Making Quilt Parade on Laugh Love Quilt.

Out of this World

This is my UFO. And yes, I mean unidentified flying object. It landed on the snowbank in front of my house, and demanded to have its picture taken. Of course, I obliged.

91473008_10219552106647830_3292392109432111104_nTruth be told, it is a quilt top. You guessed? It was originally going to be called Ann’s AMH. For those of you who might not be avid quilters, let me tell you that Anna Maria Horner is a force to be reckoned with in the quilting world. She designs absolutely stunning, vibrant fabric and quilts, and is well known for her unusual use of colours and bold, often folkloric, images. Her store, Craft South, is in Nashville, and when I was at Quiltcon2019, I visited it. The place was abuzz with beautiful fabric and happy quilters  hunting for beautiful fabric, but what really captivated me were the quilts. OMG, what quilts! Let me apologize right now for the terrible pictures, but hopefully, you can get an idea of the magic.

I decided then and there that I’d like to make a quilt inspired by these.

In unrelated news, a few weeks ago, I spotted Purple Pineapple Studio‘s Split Decision quilt on Instagram, wanted to use up some solids, and made a few blocks. The centres needed a bit of pizzazz; I found a long hoarded bundle of AMH charm squares.91363004_10219507702257748_8936726739858489344_n

It was a pretty quilt, but this version was nothing special, and I really didn’t need a quick finish. Then I remembered my inspiration at Craft South. How would the blocks look in the form of an X? What could I use for a focus fabric?

Not these ones, even thought the birds are AMH. I didn’t want a pink quilt.

Here’s the winner. I bought the fabric in Hawaii, came home and found it in a local quilt store. I love it all the same. What could I use as a centre? The inspiration quilts had simple squares, but with the big, square, split decision blocks, I thought a square would be a let down.  Improv arcs solved the problem.

The rays of the X should be made of the remaining charm squares, but there weren’t enough. On closer examination, AMH’s Xs really stood out; they were brighter than the rest of the quilts. My blocks were already bright; I decided to remove the light charms and add more dark solids to get contrast, but the X was still getting lost in the squares. It was time to break out some contrast fabric. I tried grey solid and grey batik, but the stripes were the clear favourite. I worried they’d be too busy, but my trusty quilt consultant, Gillian, aka Sew Golly, encouraged the madness.90318281_10219507699937690_5482867259078606848_nThen I cut the focus fabric, realized I wanted the quilt a little bigger, and all of a sudden, didn’t have enough fabric to cut big setting triangles. Typical. Measure twice cut once? No, measure once, cut twice. Run out of fabric. 90942393_10219507699577681_7086728559892365312_nFinally, I got my head around a solution and inserted four inch rectangles, separated by the stripes, around the too small focus triangles. I considered delineating them with stripes, but I had very little stripe left and I really didn’t want the triangular sections drawing attention from the X. I had the devil of a time figuring out how wide to cut the focus strips to surround the triangles until I remembered Pythagoras, got out the calculator and found the length of the hypotenuse. Figuring went smoothly after that. God bless the geometry I never thought I’d use.

90262465_10219507699217672_4072795522610495488_nHow to finish the corners?  I made an executive decision, cut off the limbs of the X and made an octagonal quilt. Not quite AMH like, but what odds? The shape actually mirrors the circular centre, so clearly it was a decision based on artistic merit, not on me deciding I had done what I wanted to do, and was not in the mood to put in any more work.  The quilt will look fabulous on a round table, which I do not own, or on a lap, which I do.

My new longarm has arrived, so I’m hoping to get this top, and a half dozen more, finished in the not too distant future. For now, flimsy pictures will have to do. Here is the alien on a bush.91549184_10219552107447850_8866187751767146496_nAnd here it is preparing for takeoff.91557508_10219552107487851_60485234155585536_nStay home and quilt. Stashes were made for times like these. Sending all the best karma possible from six feet and beyond,

Linking up with Leanne, the Devoted Quilter, at TGIFF