WANTED: A New “Wife”!

Nope I am not considering a plural marriage…but if that’s what you are into, I’d never stand in the way of your happiness…Just saying.

I need another “Gypsy Wife”, because my original “Wife” recently found a happy home with my fabulous niece, who lives far far away in a big city in central Canada.

Some of you may remember I blogged about my first Gypsy Wife journey here and here too.  Please feel free to go there to visit should you want to read about it.  And you can see lots of pictures in that post too. Oh and that’s her above in the Header also.  Isn’t she beautiful?

The first time I undertook to make this outrageous quilt, I did it completely on my own. But not this time.  This time I’m sewing along with at least 1000 other bold and brave souls in the “Gypsy Wife Sew-Along” hosted by Angie, who blogs at Gnome Angel and Nicole who blogs here in Canada at SnipsSnippets.

Whew,  I am all a-tingle due to the choices I made about my new “Wife”. This Gypsy is definitely well on her way to being much more free-spirited than the earlier one.  Right up front, she is going to be completely dotty when done (much like me, I expect LOL).  I purchased a FQ bundle of Kaffe Fassett Spots to go along with all the dotty and quasi-spotty fabrics I found in my stash.     Aren’t they ahhhmazing? YES THEY ARE!!!

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IMHO the trick to doing this, is to find a way to control the contrast between the many many dotty blocks so the whole quilt, when finished,  is sensational to see but will not make anyone go cross-eyed or lose their lunch.  This, my friends is much like performing a high wire act–blind-folded and without a net above Niagara Falls,  I’m very afraid it’s apt to make me completely potty before we’re done.  My sole plan is to make the fifty-odd vertical stripes very neutral,  trusting this will give the whole moonstruck quilt some balance.  Right now, I’m seriously considering using only 2 fabrics for the vertical stripes.  I have two excellent pairs of contenders.   Below is a sample of Crosswatch in Onyx and Crosswatch in Aluminum.  Both are from the Hatch Collection, designed by Bread & Butter for Windham Fabrics.  There is nary a spot or a dot to be seen in these beauties, but I think its a fabulous pairing and would look absolutely brilliant in this quilt. And would give my eyes a place to rest…which they are definitely going to need. I LOVE THEM!

But then, I am seriously crushing on my other choices too. There are definitely dots aplenty in this pairing, but not overwhelming I think…These fabrics are designed by Rae Ritchie and are part of the Chroma Basics collection for Dear Stella.  I LOVE THEM TOO!

I think either pair will be stupendous and will do a kick-ass job of showcasing all those brilliant dots and spots.  Right now Pink Castle Fabrics is offering a 25% discount on low volume fabrics….which might possibly be the deciding factor. Stay tuned to see what I decide.  All four fabrics are on the way to my house via the wonder of my magic Visa card, UPS and of course the Internet.  Watch for all these fabrics to  turn up in this or another quilt in the near future.

So…I think this is the first quilt I’ve ever made twice.  I am absolutely over-the-moon, crazy mad in love with Gypsy Wife.  Seriously I shed a quiet tear or two at home in my sewing room after Lobo decided she wanted to make  my original “Gypsy Wife” hers and took her off to live in Toronto with her.  Have you ever loved a quilt pattern as much as that? Did you ever make your own Gypsy Wife?  I’d love to see it if you did.

Just so you know…the block for week one is done and posted on my Instagram Feed.  I love it so much I thought I’d show it here again.  Ain’t she just the cutest thing ever?

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Its Magic and Wizardry…or maybe its Pinterest

I am pretty sure I didn’t exist before I discovered Pinterest.  I’m serious. I love it that I can click on that magical red and white “P” icon and open a window into the world that didn’t even exist 10 short years ago.  Holy OMG how is it possible? How is any of this wizardry possible? Who on earth imagines up a place where a person like me can share a photo or a story or any other thing that I think is beautiful, or unique, or funny, or sad or amazing, with the whole world. And…I can peek into the universe of a gazillion other people living here on this little blue dot.  Sometimes I just have to shake my head in wonderment…but there you go I’m distracted already.

Lets start again.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE PINTEREST.   I love creating Pins and Boards as much as I love my dogs, Tigg and Theo. And that my friends is a wholeheckofalot.  Right now, I have approximately 40 Boards where I regularly pin articles and photos that catch my eye or capture my fancy or make me think, or wish, or hope, or plan.  Naturally many of my Boards revolve around quilts and quilting.  I have Boards dedicated to modern quilts, modern quilt patterns, traditional quilts, mini-quilts, wool appliqué quilts, quilt patterns, quilt borders, medallion quilts, round robin quilts etc. etc. etc. Its endless, its fabulous, its wonderful and I cannot imagine a world without Pinterest.

So having professed my love for Pinterest twice now, I’m happy to share some of my favourite boards/pins/walls created by some fabulous people…some famous, some famous only to me or the people who love them. Here we go….in no particular order.

Kaffe Fassett  I recently finished a quilt top using only fabrics by this designer.  I spent many hours looking here for inspiration before I could allow myself cut into those beautiful FQs. In the end I chose to make a variation of a “drunkards path” block, which I call “Clambake with Kaffe”.  Click  here to see the blocks I considered on my Pinterest Board and then click  here to go to my Instagram Account to see a pic. of my finished top.

Laila Nelson – She lives in beautiful BC Canada and she is part of an online quilt party (Patchwork City) that I’m a member of.  She creates seriously stunning quilt blocks that are a feast to my eyes and I get to see her work every month.  You should definitely check out her boards and pins.  That woman has an eye for colours/patterns like nobody I’ve ever known.  If you want to see some of her works that I’ve collected, check out My Patchwork City Board here.

Rachel Hauser.  I follow her blog too.  IMHO she is a very inspirational woman who has learned the very difficult art of balancing her personal life, business, family and faith, while still finding a way with every post to provoke some type of emotion.  Seriously you should check this out.

Alison Glass.  Seriously, do I need to say anything else?  Well, perhaps this:

Carolyn Friedlander or maybe this.

Libs Elliott, A Canadian designer that will knock your socks off.

So there you go, a quick glimpse of my Pinterest world.  Here is the icon, should you possibly be living somewhere in a different universe where Pinterest has not yet landed. Hahahah, possibly Mars or Pluto…

Lets all do something creative today.

 

 

 

 

I’ve got cabin fever

…and its not because its minus 4 gazillion degrees outside, or because of the wind whistling up my long johns at 90 km per hour, or even the freezing rain/ice pellets ricocheting out of the sky and into my face as I stand outside with our new puppy, crossing my mitten clad fingers that he will do his business before I freeze into an extremely unimpressed icicle. Nosirree Bob its not.

I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever because of the new quilting project I’m working on.  Its another quilt along, this time with Angie over at  Gnome Angel and Snips Snippits. This is not a quilt along for the faint-o-heart.  Holy OMG.  Here is a picture of the pattern book (please ignore the puppy chewed corners – Théo  wants to eat everything he sees).  Its 38 freaky pages long!

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Here is a picture of the actual finished quilt that may someday be mine!

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If you look closely you will see that there are 16 pineapple log cabin blocks spread over the quilt,  9 in one block on the right side about half way down, 4 on the bottom edge left of centre,  and another 3 closer to the top left.  Folks these are 5″ finished blocks. Yes, you read that correctly. The pieces are incredibly, amazingly, shockingly tiny.  There is a template on the back page of the pattern that I could scan and print (if I had a scanner, which naturally I don’t), so I decided to find a similar/same block on line, which I could save and simply print.

Lucky me, I found one.  Its a variation on the pineapple log cabin so I am happy as a pig in a puddle.  I wanted to share the blocks that I’ve finished so far with you.  Here are the 9 that will go together into one block that finishes at 15″.

I think they are adorable.  I admired them for about a day and a half before I broke down and started searching the internet again for blocks that I could modify for the 4 block piece.  Here is what I came up with so far.

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Its a wonky pineapple block.  Also 5″ finished and last but not least…so far

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A couple little birdhouses.  My plan is to make one more birdhouse for the section that has 3 log cabins in a row and 3 more wonky log cabins in other colorways.

Yikes,  I am afraid to even think about the other 4 log cabins, 9 courthouse steps or  21 churn dash blocks that I have to make after the pineapple log cabin variation blocks are done. And that my friends is only a small portion of the madness.

O and did I mention that this QAL kicks off officially in March and finishes in July which is only 4 months.  The schedule is crazy.  Check it out below or read the whole post at GnomeAngel

  1. Bow Tie – Make 2 –
  2. Square in a Square Stars – Make 1
  3. Crosses of the U.K. – Make 6
  4. Jacobs Ladder – Make 9
  5. Trip Around the World – Make 1
  6. Plus a Star – Make 1
  7. Churn Dash – Make 21
  8. Courthouse Steps – Make 9
  9. Log Cabin – Make 4
  10. Half Square Triangle 1 – Make 1
  11. Half Square Triangle 2 – Make 1
  12. Half Square Triangle 3 – Make 1
  13. Flying Geese – Make 64
  14. 60 Degree Triangle – Make 30
  15. Pineapple Log Cabin – Make 16
  16. Checkerboard

And just for a giggle I thought I’d share the scrap basket that I’m using to create this masterpiece – although my PEIMQG friends have kindly kicked in some strips of fabric for me to use.  Thanks again to Robin and Susan.

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Sigh…will I ever learn? I think not.

 

 

 

Announcing the arrival of Théo the Wonder Puppy and  other Things! 

Thank goodness babies are cute because otherwise I’d be tearing my eyebrows out already. Nope we do not have a new “actual” baby. We have a new puppy.  He is a brindle phantom inter-variety (AKA Moyen or Medium) poodle.  This variety is quite rare in Canada and not recognized by CKC or AKC. It’s kinda a cross between a miniature and a standard poodle.  We hope he will grow up to be about 30 lbs and be a little brother to our big 76 lb Standard Poodle. So far Tigg wants very little to do with the new addition.

Here is Théo.  As  can see, he is fully loaded in the looks department but I don’t want anyone to think he’s just a pretty face. Here he is reading the newspaper with my hubby, which is, I’m sure you’ll agree quite astonishing for a fella as young as he is (talking about Théo, not hubby).


Now on a different topic, I am expecting again….Nope, not expecting a baby….I’m expecting to accomplish lots in my  sewing room this year.  This is what’s already on the agenda.

  • Patchwork City Quilt Along.  This started back in September with members all across Canada and already its coming along nicely. I am in awe of the talents of my fellow quilters in this one. It’s simply shocking how very very talented my friends are.  Stay tuned for further pics from this project.  Here are my  blocks so far. I seem to be stuck on green and orange.
  • Bee Inspired.  This is an online Bee comprised of bloggers I met last year in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. My month is June. I’ve already sent one block off to the states. Only 11 more to go. 

It’s a simple paper pieced Block called Split Hatchet. I love it and am eager to see Sharon’s finished quilt.

  • PEIMQG Round Robin challenge.  My centre  block is boxed up and ready to start its travels beginning at the January meeting on Thursday.  Here is a sneak peak of the box and it’s contents. This one has me very excited.
  • Long Time Gone Quilt-Along.  Holy Heck Hermione.  I did this.  It’s A crazy crazy quilt along that aims to complete this quilt in 4 months. The pattern arrived in the mail earlier this week (and Théo has already chewed the pattern book covers)  so I cannot back out now. Yikes this one may be a bridge too far!

  • Japanese Crosses. I’m not sure where this one is going, but I’ve already got about 24 blocks done on this one.  Here is a quick pic of blocks I’ve made since mid-December. 
  • Marie’s Granddaughter’s Graduation Quilt.  There is very little info on this one yet.  It’s going to be a traditional photo remembrance quilt, which is something way outside my wheelhouse, but it’s always good to try new things.   This one has to be done by June, so stay tuned for pics as we progress.

So that’s it for my projects (I think).  I didn’t include the blocks I’ll make monthly for my PEIMQG Bee block exchange or any special blocks I’ll be making for Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild; and I also didn’t include the “150 Women Quilt” that Selina and I are considering making to celebrate our Nation’s birthday. It’s got 150 six inch blocks and it’s a monthly QAL. We are still thinking about this, not sure how or if we’ll get it done. It’d be really cool and I’d do it in a heartbeat, if I was convinced there was a possibility I could make another 75 blocks.


Here is a picture. Here is a link to the site.  150 Women.  Check it out. It’s an important quilt and one any Canadian quilter should have a look at!

What’s on your plate?

“Crosses and Xs”, A Picto-Toot’…

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This modern looking beauty is a VERY traditional block.  It is sometimes called Japanese Cross or Crosses and Losses.  Quilters like me have been crushing on it  since the 1930s.  This block was originally credited to Nancy Cabot in 1938 according to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Block Patterns.  So there you go…Everything old is new again; what goes around comes around…You get the idea.

I saw this block featured on my  Pinterest feed and I absolutely love it. It looks ahhhmazing in a pastel-y palate and just as great if you are a wild woman like me when you are picking colours for quilts.

(There are more pics and links to finished projects at the end of the Toot).

So without any more chit-chat, here is the Picto Toot that will make a 10.5″ unfinished block.

    This block requires SEVEN FABRICS in any combination. Go. Wild.  I dare you. I did!

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    Seriously folks, 7 fabrics–Absolutely No Exceptions.

    Now lets get out those rotary cutters and start having fun. Here is how I cut the fabrics for this Toot’.

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    Yikes.  Relax you can do this.  Lets start with the 8 x 2.5″ squares.

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    Use a ruler and a pencil to draw a diagonal line on the back of each of these 8 squares.  You could also fold the squares on the diagonal and press the line – or – use a Hera tool – or – if you are super confident, just wing it (I don’t have that kinda courage).

    Pick up the 4 x 4″ squares and the marked 2.5″ squares and head over to the sewing machine.

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    Place a small square on each of the larger squares (just like in the pic) and sew ’em together right down that line.  Then do it all over again on the opposite corner.  You’ll use two smaller squares on each larger square.  But you knew that already didn’t you?

    After they’re sewn on, flip the smaller squares back on the sewn line, and press,press,press…before you start cutting off the ends.  I find pressing at this stage helps to square everything up, if your stitching line tends to be a bit wonky. Sigh.

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    Now you can cut the undersides away like the above picture.  Flip the small corner triangle back into place. Then just sit for a minute and enjoy how pretty they look (and give yourself a pat on the back for your bold colour choices).

    Okay, moving on to the next section.  Confession time… I  didn’t take very many pictures of this stage… my iPad was perilously close to running out of battery life. Here is the only pic I took.

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    Its pretty self explanatory.  Pick two of the remaining teal 2.5″  blocks  and two lavender (pink?) blocks  to sew together and and sew the last two lavender (pink?) blocks to each side of the teal 6.5″ rectangle.

    Whew…you’re almost there.  Set out your block like this….

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    Sew them together in rows, matching seams if you are that kind of girl, which I’m not… but that’s a story for another day.  Then head back to the pressing station one final time.   I prefer to press the rows towards the cross because it helps to make those pretty crosses pop…but that’s your call. You could also press the seams open to reduce bulk if that’s the kinda thing that makes you crazy. 

    Prepare to be amazed and impressed with yourself.  This is what the finished block will look like.

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    Yay You.  You made a beautifully modern/traditional block.

    And now for your viewing pleasure, here are a few more pics of how this could go together into a quilt and/or what some other colour choices would look like.

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    My personal favourite Color combo–so far!

    The grouping of blocks below came from Flikr.  I love them too because this shows you that more low-key  colorways can also be very effective in this block.

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    You can also go to my Pinterest Feed and find about another gazillion colour choices.  Here is the link for Granny Can Quilt – Modern Granny.  Just scroll through the Board and you will find some great colorways for this block (and lots of other fab-u-lous stuff IMHO!)

    or just click here; or here; or here; Gawjus…Gawjus…Gawjus.

    Update:

    Click  here for a link to a Pinterest tutorial for a 5.5″unfinished block. 

    If by chance you want to make a 15.5 inch unfinished block, here is the cutting information you need. Then just follow along with my tutorial to make a gigantic version. 

    • cut 2 squares 3.5″ and 1 rectangle 3.5″ x 9.5 from the cross fabric
    • Cut 4 squares 3.5″
    • Cut 8 squares 3.5″ for corner triangles
    • Cut 4 squares 6.5″ for Xs

    One last thing I should say…look at all the blocks on my Pinterest Page and you’ll see that you can use the 7 fabrics wherever you want in the block.  As an example, you could make all four arms in the Xs from the same fabric, or from 2, 3 or 4 different ones.  IMHO you should probably make the crosses from the same fabric, so they don’t get lost in the mix, but you could probably get away with using different ones that were very equal in tone and value. Click here to see what I mean.

    Leave me a comment if you like this tutorial; and post some pics if you make the block.  I’d love to link them up here.

    Have an amazingly creative day.

    Einey Meanie Miney Mo…

    I am taking part in a QAL with a bunch of awesome quilty folk from all across Canada. We are 14 quilt mavens, and each of us is putting together a version of a quilt found in Elizabeth Hartman’s “Patchwork City” book.  If you want to see it, you can find it on Amazon;, or go to her blog “Oh Fransson”; or perhaps you’d rather just click here.  I decided to take on the “Metro Area” quilt and am using the colour scheme found in the Downtown version, which is primarily green and orange with big chunks of black and gray, smaller bits of other colours, and some really adorable/strange/unique/modern focus fabrics thrown into the mix.  I love it!

    Our hosts (Jean and Laila) provide us with two sets of blocks each month…that’s two (2) each 8.5 x 8.5 blocks; 5.5 x 8.5 blocks and 5.5 x 14.15 blocks.  So six blocks per month and we are currently on month 3.  For your viewing pleasure, here is a photo of where I’m at right now

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    Below are the FQ’s that I’ve chosen as the primary colours.

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    and

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    so…not a whole lot of choices really considering that I am committed to completing all 75 blocks….oops,  you should also know that I am allowing myself free reign of my scrap basket (see above)  and I guess I should say I have OCD/linear tendencies, so in my head, each month I plan to make one set of blocks primarily green and the other primarily orange… so nope I’m not gonna make this easy on myself.  Sigh…

    While all of the above is absolutely fascinating I know (LOL),  you are probably wondering what or where is the question in all this?  So here it is.  Within this limited colour palette, how do I make a fabulously fabulous, interesting and awesome quilt?

    Its so bizarre, sometimes I just go to the shelf, pull out a FQ and immediately know what fabrics I’m going to pair with it.  Other times, I spend literally hours trying to figure out what should go where and then I second guess myself a few thousand times before I finally put together a block.

    Here is a good example of a block that came together really quickly.  I purchased a fabulous FQ of Esperenza in parchment from Bobby Lou’s Fabric Factory in the southern USA.  The collection is called Folklorico and the designer is Alexander Henry.  Check it out here.  I gotta say I haven’t seen anything yet in this collection that I didn’t love.  Anyway, as you can see, this fabric features pretty doll like characters, most of who are holding onto skulls and/or other hideous things…what’s not to love?

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    This block is called “Donut Shop”.  Although the focus fabric is not actually orange, it does have coral/gold tones and is funky/fun which allowed me to think orange polka dots, narrow stripes and arrowheads would work together. And, IMHO, it does.  I think I put this one together (not counting sewing of course) in less than 10 minutes.

    But, this one  was a whole ‘nuther story altogether.

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    It’s called “Meow” and I made it the very next day.  Let me say this little block caused me a whole lot of grief and caused me to say some very bad words, several times.  First of all, this is not the block I was supposed to make, but my printer was broken which meant I couldn’t print off the template for the proper one, so I chose another block, which would not require a template for piecing.  Things went rapidly downhill from there.   This block was supposed to be primarily green, and is supposed to look like a cat–I think– but I wasn’t really paying attention to that little fact when I was auditioning fabric, which is why after cutting and sewing, then discarding, and re-sewing about 100 green strip pairs together, any of which would have been perfectly satisfactory, I ended up completely overwhelmed, which led to me selecting the same fabrics in two of the three sections and then reusing the same fabrics in the border Holy Heck, WHY DID I DO THAT? And why didn’t I notice until I was pressing the finished block.  Oh and also what on earth is that dark grey strip doing in there.  Clearly I was distracted and distraught!

    So I am seriously looking for input from anyone who cares to answer.  Is it better to choose a focus fabric for each block and then build from there? or should I try to get a variety of colors/patterns into each block? What would you do?  Einey Meeny Miney Mo, leave me a note and let me know.

     

     

     

     

     

    Teal Mini Swap – I made a mini…I’m gonna get a mini

    Designed by Beth Helfter, EvaPaige Quilt Designs, the Teal Mini Swap is an annual event intended to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, provide funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and to give quilters and sewers a fun little swap

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    This is my entry into the mini quilt category over at Amy’s Creative Side.  I wrote this post less than a week ago to say thank you for my partner in the Teal Mini Quilt 2016 swap.

    I was moved to participate this year, because my sister-in-law, Helene is currently receiving treatment for a gynaecological cancer.  Chemo was/is scheduled every 3 weeks since mid-August and continues through November, 2016. Helene is a remarkably strong and vibrant woman, but she is overwhelmed with debilitating side effects from chemotherapy.  I hoped I could raise her spirits and your awareness of this monstrous disease by taking part in a very worthy cause.  

    After signing up I was quickly paired with the lovely Ms. Tony Jean Dickerson of Kansas City, MO. As participants we each received a small piece of the specially selected teal swap fabric – this year a lovely Moda teal (its the dark teal square in the picture below!) –  which we were asked to use  when making a mini quilt or mug rug for our swap partner. We were instructed to make our Minis or mug rugs in September and get them delivered to partners no later than October 2. 

    Tony Jean and I quickly became Facebook friends and started chatting via Messenger, e-mail and on the Facebook page created for the swap.  I learned that Tony Jean works for a school system in Kansas City, that she would like a mini-quilt for her new office…and her office is in an ultra modern building with a bold blue and orange colour scheme.  I love orange and blue together, so was eager to start pulling fabric, cutting, piecing, and sewing on the mini for her.  At first I was afraid that the various teal fabrics wouldn’t play well together, but much to my pleasure, all the shades of blue, orange and teal that I pulled went together well.  Here is a photo of the colours I ended up choosing, including the teal fabric provided by the Swap Host and Moda.

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    After poking around Pinterest Boards and pins for a day or two, I found my inspiration in this lovely mini quilt by Terry Aske of Terry Aske Art Quilts.  You can check out her “Mostly Teal” mini quilt in more detail by clicking here if you are so inclined.  You should go, because there are a lot of really beautiful textile and fibre art pieces on her website.  Don’t forget to come back.

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    “Mostly Teal”  by Terry Aske – TerryAskeArtQuilts.com

     

    I knew I didn’t have the skills to make anything nearly as wonderful as this, but I did happen to have lots of fabric snippets in the colours that Tony Jean asked for, as you can see.   So I began…

    It only took one evening to piece my version…which I’m calling sTeal Magnolias. I’m happy to say there were no snags or hiccups during the piecing, and it turned out to be as cute as a button, all blue, green, orange and teal.


    FYI, the mini quilt was supposed to be no more than 18″ square (Tony Jean’s mini did end up just a smidge bigger finished).

    Also FYI, I have absolutely no machine quilting skills at all because I either hand-quilt or send all my tops out to be long-arm quilted.

    Also FYI, I didn’t think I should hand-quilt this fairly modern wonky log cabin, so after I finished piecing the mini, I resolved I would machine quilt it on my Babylock by myself.  Yikes, OMG, Holy Heck Hermione, etc., I was very nervous that after all my hard work, I would wreck it at this stage. So with my heart in my mouth and my fingers crossed, I commenced machine quilting. And HOLY MOLEY IT TURNED OUT GREAT.  See.

    I went with in-the-ditch quilting for the  log cabins and very narrow rows straight lines with some gentle curves every 4th or fifth row. I used my walking foot and a Hera marker to try to keep everything fairly linear,  Here is the back of the quilt.

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    As you can see the back is pieced with scraps I had on hand and a sample block that I had drafted and discarded for the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop (which is a whole ‘nuther story for a whole ‘nuther day).  I hand printed the label with a dark teal pigma pen (so it should last forever), glue basted it to the quilt and quilted it down, then popped it into the mail for my new friend Tony Jean Dickerson in Kansas City, MO. USA.

    I sure hope she likes it.  I am beyond excited to get mine from her  in the mail.  I’ll post  a picture as soon as it gets here.  Yay!