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

Alice’s Animals

It’s time for the grand unveiling of Alice’s Animals, since Alice herself has been unveiled this weekend. 88240565_10219253337578790_3572927093895331840_nBack in September, John Renaud of Art East Quilting Company announced the Wonderful Woodland Quilt Sew Along. When I saw his moose, I had to join in, even though I am trying my level best to avoid the lure of quilt alongs, and block of the months, and other quilting imperatives. That moose! He had to be made. Here in Newfoundland, the fall moose hunt is a big event. Normally sensible men take off on bonding/drinking/camping weekends ’cause they “gotta get der moose”. You’d swear their families would starve if they didn’t. Now, if they took only a portion of the money they spent on quads and guns and butchers, they’d be eating filet all year. I digress. I got my moose. I didn’t like his straight legs; moose have pretty prominent knees, so I added some.

88434820_10219253275137229_210210572937986048_nMy daughter’s friend was expecting her first baby this winter, so I found a few scraps from her wedding quilt to make the maple leaves and hooves, thinking this quilt would probably be perfect for a family who owned a summer camp. The next month the bear appeared, and he quickly joined the moose. I had an almost overwhelming desire to put a fish in his lap, but I thought it would be hard for that not to be rude. He looked a bit sheepish already; if you look closely, you’ll see honeycomb on his snout. He’s been up to no good.88105656_10219253277697293_5460420806506971136_n

A beaver got made but ended up in my Home quilt, so I had to make another, this time in turquoise and green. In unrelated news, I also made some Mochi blocks, designed by Natalie Barnes from a  Beyond the Reef pattern I had had for ages, and put them on the design wall. It was a bit of an “Aha!” moment. They looked fabulous with the beasties who were lounging there. Wonder if bears and moose like Mochi? I decided to chance it.

88224515_10219253287297533_3553797571551952896_nNow that I knew how the quilt would come together, I picked up the pace. I made a fox and a squirrel, designed by Lorna McMahon of Sew Fresh Quilts. More wedding quilt fabric was used in their construction.88988339_10219253288097553_6417149751220764672_nWhen I had a good look at it, I realized I didn’t want to include the fox after all. I preferred the symmetry of four beasts. The gaps were filled with Mochi blocks, some whole, some not, and the top was quilted. I added a little bit of love in the moose and bear hearts.

88224477_10219253338258807_5766030540188680192_nWith a scrappy binding finished,  Alice’s Animals was ready for a photo shoot. 89123055_10219253337858797_4477989725226926080_nThose snow banks aren’t as smooth as they could be, but never fear. That’ll change. It’s snowing right now! What a great day for quilting!

Linking up with Beth of Love, Laugh, Quilt’s Monday Making and Beth of Cooking up Quilts in Main Crush Monday.

Happy Trees

Here we are with only ten months to go until Christmas, so I thought I’d share my newly finished Christmas quilt. Am I an early bird, or what? Obviously, or what. I must confess it was my intention to have it done for 2019. Other quilts got in the way. Please God, I’ll have many more Christmases in which to enjoy this piece of happiness.

87206198_10219183489712637_9145048046877278208_nThere’s something irresistible about a festive Christmas quilt. The pure joy of bright colours and happy images pulls me in every time, so when I saw Amy Smart’s Pine Hollow Patchwork Forest quilt, I had to make it. I was up to my eyes with projects, but it didn’t matter. It had to be made.

I based my colour scheme on a piece of  Helen’s Garden from Festive Forest by Tamara Kate. Many sensible people read a pattern, cut all the pieces and proceed in a methodical fashion to make it. Not me. I picked six fabrics and made six tiny trees.

I found the navy trunks overpowering. I decided I didn’t want all the trees to have the same trunks. It was time for some medium sized trees, and then three big ones.

Stars landed in a couple of those big trees, as suggested by the pattern, but my favourite block was the medium sized lollipop tree. It took a little fiddling to land that star where it should be, but I did it. Here’s the block on my front door. 87174003_10219183466352053_8264080267975589888_nIt was so much fun to assemble the blocks; each added something to the overall effect. Even the little orange trees, which were the last I made, were important. They brought brightness to the quilt; it was the final infusion of life.

Don’t you just love my design floor? I have a wall, but at 4×7′ it is too small for a biggish quilt, so the design floor is important, situated as it is, beside an open stairwell, where I can stand and view things from on high.

The flimsy was finished well before Christmas, but I had more pressing things to make than a quilt for myself, so it waited. The last few weeks I’ve been on a mission to quilt tops, so Happy Trees finally made it onto the longarm and was finished. Each block has it’s own motif, as does each tree. I had lots of fun playing with different designs, confident that they’d never be clearly seen because of the busy fabrics. Then I took it off the frame and looked at the back, which was a solid velour, and every stitch was evident. Luckily, from a distance, it looks fine. In fact, I was rather pleased with it.

It’s been a challenging winter, as you may have guessed from the pictures. Yesterday evening I was a bit too late getting outdoors, but this morning, I put on my snowshoes and ventured over to my friend’s place to take a few pictures. See my tracks?

85251191_10219183489792639_9113988990876254208_n Then, inspired by the banks of snow in her driveway, I staged the first Hogans Pond Quilt Show. Who needs clotheslines when you have snowbanks?

You may recognize the pink quilt as one of my orphan block creations, mentioned in my first blog post of the year. It, too, has been finished, as has the third quilt in the show. You’ll hear more about that one later. For now, here are a couple more winter pictures for those of you who think it is spring.

Happy Quilting!

Linking up with Cyndy at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

 

 

Home

Have you heard of Pliny the Elder? He was a Roman naval commander, scientist, humanitarian and the author of the first Encyclopedia. The phrase “Home is Where the Heart is” has been attributed to him.

84863144_10219050867837173_4807016303506227200_nWhen my younger daughter secured a job in Australia for the winter, I decided to make her a travel quilt. My plan was that it should be small and light enough to take on the journey, and would be a little bit of home to cuddle. After all, she would be saying farewell to her girlfriend and cat for a few months. I set to work.

My plan was to set some  northern creatures in 2×4 blocks. In typical fashion, I started slicing some Harry Potter fabric and some wax prints from Cameroon since both would be meaningful for Maura. I gave no thought to the colour scheme, which resulted in the grouping on the left. Yuck. I removed Harry and the really bold African print, added some pink and peach, and got the group on the right. Better. Not fabulous. My immediate response was to add some yellow, which in my world, solves all problems. My friend Gillian challenged me to make a quilt without red or yellow, my favourite colours, saying other colours could do the same job of adding life. I beg to differ, but a challenge is a challenge. This quilt would be free of yellow and red.

I decided to make some creatures that I didn’t think would be seen in Australia.

These are Elizabeth Hartman’s seal and bear from her North Stars pattern. The quilt needed more wildlife.

84769543_10219050866677144_8060668031266717696_nElizabeth’s fox was joined by John Renaud of Art East Quilting‘s beaver and puffin. Subtlety is not my strong suit. I decided to add “HOME”, which I made without a pattern. Don’t you love the heart in the “O”? I filled in the empty spaces with more 2×4 blocks, keeping to a green/turquoise/orange colour scheme. 85019508_10219050867957176_6493014855241433088_nDid you spot Morris? This is Morris. 83766748_10219050867797172_7270195372205539328_nAs is this. Morris and me and the gypsy wife.My legs are under the quilt85006703_10219051119003452_7139531235721740288_nHe’s the reason this post hadn’t been written earlier. You see, Morris belongs to my daughters. He was Margaret’s cat for five years, and this summer moved to Maura, who fell madly in love with him. When she got the job in Australia, he came to Granny Ann  for the winter. Morris has always been an outdoor city cat, a prize hunter of birds and rodents. After he was with me for a couple weeks, I let him out to explore the country and he didn’t some back. I put up notices, I posted on facebook, I visited the spca. No Morris. We had bitterly cold weather, followed by a record breaking blizzard that shut down the city for a week. We were all up in a heap. Then, after two weeks, when we had given up hope, Morris fetched up on a back step about a kilometer away, meowing to be let in. The kind people there took him in, fed him a can of tuna, put him in a crate and brought him to me. I was never so thrilled to have strangers banging on my door at 11:45pm. Come to think of it, I don’t know if I’ve ever had strangers banging on my door at 11:45pm before. I was ecstatic. My daughters and their significant others were over the moon. Morris seemed pretty pleased with himself too, and took no time settling back onto my bed. Apart from a cut on his cheek, and a bit of weight loss, he was none the worse for wear. It was a miracle. Now that he’s looking at me from across the room, I can write about Morris. I can show off the quilt.85048153_10219050867757171_3699821181101146112_n (1)

Here it is. Please note there is neither yellow nor red, although one of the oranges is pretty close. I backed it with a bamboo rayon sheet, and used Cotton Dream for the batting, but it was still too big to make the trip. It will always be a momento of journeys, both Maura’s and Morris’s, and of triumph over the unknown. Especially, it will be a reminder of home.84446780_10219050867597167_4539814649876447232_nLinking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

and Dione of Clever Chameleon.

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.