Freddie’s Path

83903523_10218860895567985_7944571474663178240_nOnce upon a time, likely in the second half of 2019, likely while sipping my morning coffee, I was cruising Instagram. I say this like it was a rare event instead of a daily ritual, but on an otherwise unremarkable day, I saw this:

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I thought it was brilliant. I still do. I snapped a picture so as not to have it disappear into the fog of “I know I saw something cool, but where?”. I had a serious hunt for the designer and pattern, but didn’t find them. In truth, I was just trying to give credit for the design. I had already decided how I would try it out.

It seems many of my posts start the same way. “My daughter’s friend is expecting a baby/getting married…” I have two daughters, one on either side of 30. This Christmas, the game was to drink to each of their friends who announced an engagement over the holidays. The count was at 17 when I left to come home on December 30. It didn’t include the ones who said “Yes!” as the new year was rung in. Just as well I came home when I did; my aging liver would never have withstood the celebrating.

So… one of my daughters has a friend who was expecting her second baby. I had made a quilt for the first one a few years ago; she loved it. Now, those of us who have had two children know that there are always fewer pictures and presents and moments of wonder with the younger child. This is in no way a reflection of the love that we feel for the little one, but it is pretty hard to explain as she grows older and wonders why there is only one volume of pictures from her first year, not the three starring her older sister. This new baby needed a quilt.

My first thought was that the blocks should be 6″x6″ and the contrasting background path 3″. I had some orphan Tula Pink City Sampler Blocks that I could use to make the quilt in no time. I started putting them on the design wall.

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I studied the picture again and realized the blocks were in two sizes, 6″x6″ and 3″x6″, and those two sizes were necessary because of the additional 3″ of path in each row. I quickly made a few 3″x6″ blocks and was underway.

As with many quilts, it developed a life of its own. I ended up using only three of the orphan Tula blocks. The colours of the others weren’t right for the progression I wanted; colour became the most important criteria for fabric selection. The most important criteria until I realized I was making an I Spy quilt. Suddenly, I was on a hunt for a turquoise cat, and then a blue dog, and then… I had so much fun rifling through my fabric stacks in search of just the right piece!

And then it was together. I dumped it on the spare bed and snapped a picture.82432152_10218860949969345_1977430795941314560_n

There was a pretty piece of pink flannel in my stash for a back. I quilted a boxy meander on the white path, and a bit of free motion on the blocks. Unfortunately, weather and time did not cooperate for pictures, so I don’t have a good one of the quilting. 83224218_10218860895847992_6889481508218732544_nI do have one taken at my daughter’s home in Ontario, just before it went to Freddie (Fredericka).80324745_10218860888447807_1999854845963534336_nThe bright sunshine of Christmas in Niagara washed out the colours a little, but I thought it looked sweet anyway. I hope that sunshine blesses little Freddie throughout her life.

Linking up with mmmquilts TGIFF.

Plaid-ish at the Pond

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My daughter Maura has a lovely girlfriend, Maris. Last summer they lived together, with Morris the cat, and the multitude of quilts I have made for Maura over the years. That made Maura and Maris and Morris. Try keeping those names straight. I digress. At the end of the summer, Maris moved east to grad school. When I visited Maura shortly afterwards, she told me Maris had really liked the coziness of the quilts. Of course she did. Quilts, layered several deep,  are the original weighted blankets.

My quilting follows a pattern. I love a good challenge, be it technical or in design, but when it’s done, I need something easy. I need to play. This past summer I signed up for the Summer Sampler 2019 and loved learning the tips and techniques to make the blocks. Some were quite difficult, but I finished them all, and now have a completed flimsy. Here’s a sneak peek. Beside it is Charlotte , which required some considerable thought in terms of colour and design, and time to make. It is 104″square.

At the end of the summer, I saw Plaid-ish by Kitchen Table Quilting, on Instagram. I loved it. It used scraps and charm squares. Believe me, I have those. There was a retreat coming and I needed an easy project. Maris needed a quilt. I needed to cut and sew with abandon. Plaid-ish at the Pond ticked all those boxes.

Off I went to retreat with my charm squares and no clear idea of colour, other than that I needed light, medium and dark. This happened. 81156903_10218754761434698_7985554464918470656_n

Oh my, it was ugly.  I pulled out a few blocks that really didn’t please me.81152548_10218754762034713_7902604984141742080_n

Better, but really dull. And then I realized something I should have known from the start: even a scrappy quilt needs a clear colour scheme. Mine would be purple with a bit of blue and green for the dark, the bright fabrics of my yellow/pink/aqua summer sampler for the medium, and white based low volume for the lights. I put away those random charm squares and went shopping for more fabric. New fabric solves all problems. Well… many of them. It solved my shortage of purple.

The quilt was SO much fun to make. The blocks flew together. I realized that if I always pressed to the medium fabric, the rows would fly together too. 81594011_10218754787795357_5616464712196685824_nThis picture is a present to all of you who beat yourselves up because your sewing room is messy. This is my rec room, home of the cutting table and design floor (for use when the design wall is too small). Note the piles of dark and light fabric on the arm of the chair and the laundry basket full of the mediums. There’s an aged UFO on the other arm. It’s just as well I live alone.

I took the flimsy to the wharf just before sunset. The sun fair danced on the fabric, and I love the effect, even if the shadows are ridiculous.

81717678_10218754794155516_6407857593770835968_nI waited a few minutes for the sun to sink beneath the hill and got this shot. 82864639_10218754794115515_1944107360167395328_nA swirly yellow flannel went on the back to make it cozy, and the quilting was kept fairly sparse, with mostly straight lines in an irregular grid. I put in a little free motion every once in a while, but time was short and I really didn’t want to take away from the tartan look. You can almost see the quilting in this picture.81556674_10218754808795882_19315734945464320_nHere she is, just before she went to her new home. And yes, she will be loved.81449620_10218754808755881_1142956613544443904_nLinking up with Dione, theClever Chameleon.

Start of a Decade

2020. A new year. A new decade. A time to reflect. A time to set goals. A time to pat oneself on the back. A time to share these pictures, taken at sunrise at Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, in late October. A time to administer a firm kick in the pants to myself.

I have not been blogging. I have made four quilts this fall, as well as a top and a number of small items, but they were all presents and could not be revealed. I made a set of placemats but didn’t take pictures.

There was a bit of Christmas knitting for little people. The sweater ornament pattern was from Kathy Lewinski of JustCraftyEnough.com. The addition of the initials was a nod to Mrs. Weasley of Harry Potter fame, who knit scratchy, initialled, sweaters for her children.

There was a bit of knitting for a new family member, my daughter’s girlfriend, who joined our slightly belated Christmas celebrations. Her stocking was made to match Maura’s, knit 29 years ago. I had to dig to find the ancient Mary Maxim pattern. Truth be told, I dug and couldn’t find it, but it was available online for a couple dollars.

There was a Sew Together bag for my daughter Margaret, made from fabric designed by fellow guild member Julia Wentzell of  Briar Hill Designs. Margaret does a lot of garment sewing, knitting and embroidery, so I thought she might like a little tool bag. 81699044_10218740762724739_939954451723059200_nJames, Margaret’s husband, couldn’t be left out. He got a cushion cover to remind him of their cat, who went on vacation to Maura and is now with me. That’s a story for another time. Here’s the top, made from a pattern in Make Modern, issue 5, called Geometric Kitty, and brought to my attention by the Clever Chameleon. 81559833_10218740783325254_2220380186589790208_nAnd there was a hot water bottle cover, of my own design. I prequilted the flannel before I cut out the cover, putting a cat face in the stitching. In retrospect, it would have been more effective had I appliquéd and embroidered the face. That’ll be a tip for the next time. This one is done. The slot for the bottle is up nice and high so it can be filled without removing the bottle, at Maura’s request.

The quilts will get separate blog posts over the next little while, when I get my act together. In the meantime, I need to sew. There are a half dozen tops to quilt, which have been on hold partly because of technical long arm issues. There are two more tops that need something done to them, one to make it more interesting, one to make it more functional.

The real decision is this year’s focus. I know I’d like to use some scraps. Make something from nothing. On New Year’s day, I tidied my cutting table of scraps from the hot water bottle and made a pouch. 81083459_10218741118533634_7123138900331069440_nThen I got into my orphan block box and started a charity quilt. It needs to be a bit longer, but here it is. I’ll be ready for the next request for a comfort quilt. Maybe the visually impaired will need one. Truth be told, I like it, but it is BUSY.81799227_10218741115733564_3627642112503185408_n

Last year I planned to work from my library. I didn’t do that, but I’d still like to get into some of my marvellous books. I’d like to explore new techniques. Try new colour schemes. Design some quilts. Stay away from sew alongs that explore other people’s ideas and see if I can come up with some myself. Yesterday I unearthed a project I had started several years ago, and made a few more blocks.We’ll see where it goes.

Firstly, I need to get started on a project for our guild special show in May, which features men’s ties and grey fabric. And make a few baby quilts. Oh yes, and there is my actual job, which might just be in its final year. I haven’t been working for quite as long as these fossils have been around, but almost.

I took the pictures this fall at Mistaken Point, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a couple hours drive from my home. It is the best place on earth to see the seabed of 565 million years ago, especially in the fall when the sun is low, creating fabulous shadows.

Tomorrow, Christmas ends. On Tuesday, the decorations come down, and the New Year starts in earnest. More walking, less eating, sewing with intent… May you all have a wonderful year of health and happiness and quilt making.

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