Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cherry Thieves table runner

About a week ago I decided that it was about time I finally started on a little project that I have been wanting to make for several years. It is the Cherry Thieves table runner by Esther Aliu and was one of the first patterns that I downloaded from her Yahoo Group. I really love the pattern and decided it would be perfect to fill the wall space above the window in the eating area of my kitchen. I really need some color up there and I would much rather make this than some window treatments right now. Although the original pattern is in reds, I knew this pattern would be great in shades of teal and aqua. First I decided to do a fusible appliqué. As you can see I had a few issues with sizing but it was not a problem as I just cut the excess background fabric off after appliquéing.

I did a tiny blanket stitch around all the appliqué. On my machine it is the 1.5 setting in length and width.

I then added the details in hand embroidery. I am sure I could have done this on the machine but I like how the little french knots add a bit of texture.

Finally I added the final border and it is ready to sandwich so I can begin machine quilting. I am going to try some fancy background quilting with this one but I am not quite sure what pattern I will use. I figure this will be good practice as it is a pretty small project and since it will be hanging up high no one will be able to look too closely. I can't wait to enjoy this on the wall!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Stonefields part 4 finished

It has been a busy week with lots of fun quilty activities but little to show for my efforts. I really do need to think about taking some pictures when I quilt with friends, but I get so busy chatting and laughing that I simply forget. Last evening I attended a presentation by Bonnie Hunter at a quilt guild. I had not heard her speak before and am so glad I was able to see her in action. She is just a delight, so full of joyful energy and so inspiring. While I don't see myself cutting up my stash anytime soon, I do feel a renewed interest in using what I have and making sure I always have a project prepped and ready to go.

I did finally get back to work on my Stonefields quilt and finished the last 4 blocks of part 4. The little bunny block "Rocco", is one that I noticed right away when I first saw this quilt. I still think it is one of my favorites. I didn't want all of the primrose blocks to be the same so I reversed the direction of one and am happy with the results.

Here are are all the blocks on the design wall. I do love seeing this come together.



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rachel Meyer, my 6th block

First, I have not yet begun Oma's Blues other than pulling fabric. I want to think about how to approach it and am trying to keep to my plan of prioritizing things in my life. I will start it this year but I have a few things that need working on first. With that in mind I am excited to share the 6th completed Rachel Meyer block.

Or maybe it is almost completed. I am thinking I may want to add a little outline embroidery around that light pink but I am going to wait until I see it with the other blocks. Some of the embroidery is obvious, like stems and feet, but other embellishments are just added here and there as I see fit. So much fun to just make this quilt my own.

I also pieced a couple more Stonefields blocks. I really need to keep working steadily on this quilt as the fabrics I pulled are taking over my appliqué prep area!

And of course there are all kinds of other things on the go too as I am constantly switching from hand work to machine work. Hopefully I will have something fun to show soon.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oma's Blues by Esther Aliu

Wow! Today Esther Aliu released her newest BOM, Oma's Blue's and it is a beauty. If Esther's name is not familiar to you then you might recognize her work as she is the Australian designer of Love Entwined another beautiful appliqué quilt that is being made by members of her Yahoo group around the world. Once you join her Yahoo group her BOM patterns are available free the month they are released. Such beautiful designs offered free, Esther is truly talented and generous. I was so excited to see this quilt design this morning and am grateful that Esther did not make this a mystery as, for several years I have been looking for the perfect design to make a Blue and White quilt for my bedroom. One look at this design and I knew I could fully commit! You can find more about this quilt if you go to Esther's blog.

So this month is the center appliqué plate and I am already thinking about the best way for me to put this together.

I spent the morning pulling fabrics together and just for fun, thought I would share. First, I have wanted to make a blue and white quilt because my Master bedroom is decorated in blue, white and aqua. Please ignore the tan wall color. In our last two homes we painted the walls a beautiful aqua shade and that is the plan for this room as well, once DH has finished the basement. I have always loved blue and white dishes and when we lived in China I collected lots of Chinese blue and white pots, jars and vases which are on display in the bedroom. I love the print on the pillows on my bed, again much prettier once the wall are painted aqua.

Right now we have a TV on a Chinese temple table on the wall across from our bed and it is flanked by a pair of 5ft Urns that my DH and I love. When the basement is finished the TV will be moving and I want to hang a quilt behind the table. I think this will be the perfect quilt and I will be able to enjoy it every night as I lay reading in bed!

So here is the fabric that I pulled from my stash. I am going to use lots of different blue fabrics. I love the blue and white applique quilts that I have seen that incorporate many fabrics but I have never tried appliqe using a monochromatic color palette so this will be a new challenge.

I brought a few pieced of pottery to the studio to help me select the right blues. Man, are there ever a lot of shades of blue. Some were too purple and some too green but I am pleased with my selection. And since I have some lovely large prints I hope to incorporate some broderie perse.

Esther's design is based on Delft blue and white china but I want to make a more Chinese inspired quilt, so a few changes will be made in some of the small appliqued blocks. I am excited to have found the perfect quilt for my bedroom. Now to get to work.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sue Spargo BOM

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of "Woolie Women", my wool appliqué group. The group was formed several years ago after a workshop with Sue Spargo. Many of us wanted to get together and inspire each other to continue with our wool projects. It is a lovely group and returning to it after moving back to the area has renewed my interest in wool appliqué. I had sorta let my Sue Spargo BOM from 2012 go by the wayside until returning but yesterday I finally finished the 3rd block of Earth 'n Twig.

Mostly we just sit and stitch during these meetings and I do so much chatting that it is slow going but I am determined to get this project finished someday so I am already prepping the next block. Hopefully next month I will think to take some pictures of everyone's work to share!



Thursday, January 8, 2015


I have been reading lots of blogs the past week ( though I am sticking to my goal of less time on the computer), and I am noticing that for many quilters the New Year is an opportunity to make quilting goals and to take stock of that ever growing pile of UFOs. If you don't have one of those piles then this I am sure this seems crazy but for many of us there are projects in various stages of completion that may, or may not be worth finishing. Ok, I confess I don't have the desire to make a count of all my projects just yet but I do think it is time to look around and start prioritizing stuff. One thing I have noticed is that often the quilts that end up finished aren't really the ones I most want done and that leaves me with a whole bunch of really nice stuff that will never see the light of day if I don't refocus some of my energy. So my word for 2015 is "prioritize". And this applies to lots more than just my quilting, I need to apply it to my time in other areas, my spending and even my health. First up is to put my adaptation of the Rachel Meyer quilt higher on my list this year. I love this quilt and really think it deserves to be finished so, with that in mind, I completed one more block this past week.

This is such an interesting block to me as it is speculated to be a Christmas cactus. How exotic a plant that must have been in the 1830's when it is thought that the original was made. It is not my favorite block to look at but I do love the addition of the deer. What an imagination the designer had.

I did finish sewing my Scrappy Trip to France quilt. It was such fun using so many of the French General fabrics that I have collected being used. You might notice that I am using lots of French General in the Rachel Meyer quilt as well, I love so many of their fabrics. Since my quilt holder is occupied elsewhere I took a shot of the quilt in a decorative setting. As you can see I am NOT much of a photographer and if you look closely you can see me, in my jammies, in that mirror behind the quilt but doesn't it look pretty against the aqua walls and red transferware! Can't wait for my sitting room to be finished.



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Another year begins

Once again my year begins with the reveal of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. This year it is Grand Illusion and I stuck much closer to Bonnie's color suggestions. I really thought I was confused by this one but had actually figured it out beforehand, I just thought I must be wrong because when I laid out one block with the sashing I was not pleased.

But this is a quilt that needs more blocks put together so the secondary pattern comes to life and perhaps a little time to let it grow on you. I admit I do not like it as well as last year's Celtic Solstice but it was a fun experience and it will be perfect in my guest room. I am so happy that I went with a solid white for my neutral and am pleased that the modern brights seem to be working OK. I do love the colors together and look forward to seeing it with the added borders.

The Scrappy Trip to France quilt is also still on my design wall. They are quite the contrast and certainly reflect my eclectic quilting taste.

2014 was a very busy year for me and included another major move. As a result I have very few finishes, though my pile of finished tops grew! I hope to get a good start on getting those completed this year but much of that depends on when DH finishes my sewing room and the longarm can be put up again. My main quilting goal this year is to enjoy the creative journey and to use more of what I already have in the process. I am also hoping to take a good look at my UFO's and my list of "want to make" and prioritize the list. I am finding that with constant inspiration online I get easily distracted to try the newest thing and while that is great, I don't want to neglect projects that I still love. So perhaps my goal should be less computer time!

Wishing all a happy and creative year ahead.