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Posts Tagged ‘quilt blocks’

red and white cotton fabrics

Ever since June, when I learned about the 2017 Challenge for next summer’s Quilts at the Creek, I’ve been pondering what to make. The theme for the show is Canada’s 150th birthday, and Northcott has generously donated a whack of red and white fabric to get things started off.

There’s no question – I want to create a special quilt, but making a decision on the design approach is holding me back!

My head is swimming with ideas! How will I be able to settle on just one … the right one? It has to be a design that I will a) enjoy working on for many months, b) allow me to use coordinating fabrics from my stash, and c) be symbolic in its own way to represent my Canadian experience (having lived in Canada all my life).

Shall I go modern or traditional? Or somewhere in between?

Lots of ideas here:

http://quiltinspiration.blogspot.ca/2011/10/free-pattern-day-red-and-white-quilts.html

And of course on Pinterest (e.g., https://www.pinterest.com/cjshanny/red-and-white-quilts/).

logo for Canada's 150th birthday

And check out the winning sesquicentennial logo design. Could be adapted to quilt piecing, don’t you think?

Stay tuned …

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Do you find it difficult to settle down to just one project? Even when I have launched myself into a project, I sometimes find it hard to make decisions. If you’ve ever delved into the world of half-square triangles, you might have an inkling of what I mean.

There are countless ways of arranging them! Check out this flickr group .

I rarely buy charm packs, but fell in love with the Simple Marks line by Malka Dubrowsky (for Moda) when I discovered it. Half-square triangles seemed to be the perfect way to use the 42 five-inch squares in the pack. In my stash, I found that I had a sizable piece of a neutral fabric (Countertop Texture –  Michael Miller Fabrics) that coordinated perfectly as the light half of the triangles.IMG_5083

Making the HSTs was easy, and playing with the infinite possibilities of the arrangements on my design wall was so much fun!

Instead of trying to decide which pattern was “the best” I finally ended up, after a few weeks of play, just deciding which appealed to my sense of having a little extra “oomph”. Then I settled down to sewing them together.IMG_8456

Here’s the WIP (work in progress). I am still contemplating whether to add a border (comments welcome!)

Over the same few months, I have also been distracted by this year’s guild challenge “Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. The entries aren’t due until May, but I would rather avoid entering “panic mode” so I spent some time figuring out a way of using all six of the required ugly fabrics in an original design, and it’s partially done.

Next I was lead astray by a casual conversation with a bunch of quilting friends, reminiscing about corking when we were kids. Corking, you say? It’s also known as spool knitting or French knitting. I had purchased a wooden corking “device” a while back at a craft fair, so I hauled it out and, after a brief consultation on the Internet on how to get started, I was off and running! It’s quite addictive.

Other distractions have included jaunts in local ravines and fields hunting for snowy owls (they’ve been sighted quite often this winter), a lengthy search for a new yoga studio (which was finally successful) and the black hole that is Pinterest. It sucks you in and the next thing you know, several hours have passed!

My conclusion is: distractions can be fun AND frustrating. They’re part of being human.

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The impetus for this project was a small photo of a quilt on a bed that caught my eye in something I was reading (a newspaper, perhaps?). I cut it out and ruminated for sometime on the concept of a quilt make from large blocks. The quilt in the photo comprised a random arrangement of squares and rectangles that appeared to be about 20” across.

I started pulling out small-print florals from my stash and putting them aside for this quilt. The more I thought about it, it occurred to me that I could do something more interesting than simple squares and rectangles.

While leafing through Mary Ellen Hopkins’ The It’s Okay if You Sit on My Quilt Book (1989), which is brimming with block ideas made from different arrangements of strips, squares and triangles, I zeroed in on a block she calls “Amish Pinwheel”.

There are so many things you can do with half-square triangles, and this block is just one example. It’s made from 8 half-square triangle blocks, with a rectangle of the background colour added to each corner. Each finished block is 18” square. Image

The traditional Amish quilt always features solid fabrics, not florals. So I am hesitant to call these blocks Amish pinwheels. Yet it is not your typical pinwheel block.

I checked on Flickr and only found one example similar to this block, and the maker called it “Dancing Pinwheel”.

Because it is intended as a summer quilt, I opted to use flannelette for the batting to keep it light.

The quilt measures 67” x 90” and I did simple machine quilting in neutral colours. My intention was to have the quilting disappear, and just do its job (holding the layers together). The binding is made from an assortment of leftover fabric.

The result is a “vintage” look quilt. That sounds so much more sophisticated than “old-fashioned”, don’t you think?

Numerous people have asked me “Who it is for?”  It’s for me!

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With all the recent weather-related and other catastrophic events happening in Canada and around the world,  we are sometimes uncertain as to how we can help our neighbours.

Luckily, I came across the Just One Slab Quilts Recover Southern Alberta project – the brainchild of Cheryl Arkison. It was an easy way for me to contribute my skills to a worthwhile endeavour aimed at providing some comfort to the many people affected by the damaging floods.

The distance between us is more than 3,000 kilometres, but I felt I was part of one big community of quilters putting our hands, hearts and needles together in an effort to let others know that we care.

All Cheryl asked was for people to make a slab 15.5” square. “You can insert the white bit or not, that’s your choice. Just aim to make your block in a single colour. Make as many as you like,” she stated on her blog. The blocks were inspired by Cheryl’s “The Missing U” quilt from her book, Sunday Morning Quilts.

Cheryl has local volunteers all lined up to put the blocks together and produce the quilts. As of the middle of July, she already had 276 blocks. I contributed two blocks, and because I packed them in an unusual way (rolling them around a foam cylinder and then wrapping brown paper around it) I could easily  pick out my package out in the photo showing a pile of the latest arrivals in her blog post of July 29!

Quilters are Warm People

I am really looking forward to seeing the colourful results of this comfort project. A big thank-you goes out to Cheryl for her leadership. Quilters certainly are warm people!

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In case you’re not up to speed on the lingo, WIP stands for work-in-progress. I’ve been having fun creating the elements required for the Dwayne Wanner workshop I’m enrolled in. This coming Saturday, we’ll be bringing these elements along with our sewing machines and putting them together into 10 or 12 blocks that will form the wall hanging (approximately 4 feet square, although Dwayne does not encourage the standard, square product). It’s far more likely to have an irregular shape.

Image

“very skinny strips” – one of the elements for my abstract expressionist wall hanging

There are six different elements, using a range of techniques, and it will be a lot of fun deciding how to put them all together.

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I have a couple (OK, maybe four) projects on the go, so I thought I would share one of my latest obsessions. Wanda Hanson inspires me on many levels, and I identify with her bold colour sense. Ever since I came across her blog,  which has only been a matter of a month or two, I have been following her daily updates. She’s one talented artist, and prolific, to say the least. I don’t know whether she has any “down” time at all.

cobblestones in progress on the design wall

my “cobblestones” in progress on the design wall

Here’s my take on Wanda’s “cobblestones” design, batik style, up on the design wall. I’m not quite finished with the arrangement, but it’s getting there. The process is simple, downright addictive, and for the most part, I am using scraps.

Last weekend, I took my folks for a drive north of the city to a small art gallery in Unionville – the Varley Art Gallery – to see an exhibit titled “Canada on Canvas”.

We discovered a modest exhibit in a rather tiny gallery, but there were a few pieces by relatively famous artists that I hadn’t seen before. In particular, pieces by two Canadian women – Emily Carr and Doris McCarthy – made an impression.

Home, by Doris McCarthy

Home, by Doris McCarthy

Ms McCarthy lived to 100 (1910 – 2010) and she lived and worked for many or most of those years atop the Scarborough bluffs, where I lived for a few years.

I can visualize her “Home” painting interpreted in fabric … inspiration for another day!

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Well, I made it through that wicked heat wave we had last week here in Toronto! Several days of 35C temperatures and humidex scores in the forties. There’s no way I could have got any sewing done this weekend if that had kept up. Luckily, the humidity broke Friday evening and we had a gorgeous weekend.

Today was a perfect day for hanging out the laundry: sunny, dry and breezy. Also perfect for sewing!

First 4 Amish Pinwheel blocks

However, if I only get two of these blocks done every weekend, it’s going to be a looong project!

The block is called Amish Pinwheel. At least, that’s what Mary Ellen Hopkins calls it. There are 4 half-square triangle blocks in each block, and each block will measure 18″ finished. My plan is to make a summer coverlet. Not sure yet whether I will put any batting in at all … perhaps flannelette?

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