Quilt-Along with Me

I’m addicted.  Absolutely, completely, totally smitten with this whole idea.  It is so freeing to have no decisions to make and at the end of the day, (or year, or decade) to have another beautiful quilt in my collection.

Be warned though, its really really easy to say “Yes, I’m going to make that” and really really hard to always follow through to the end.  Especially for someone like me, who is like a magpie flitting from one shiny new project to another.  Yikes, OMG, you should just see the UFO’s in my closet…

Twice in my quilting life, so far, I knew the moment I saw a photo, that I had to make the quilt.  The first time was when I saw Sharon McConnell’s Twirling Fans Quilt.  OMG it was so beautiful, I was gobsmacked and awestruck.  Imagine how thrilled I was when I realized I could make my version of the quilt along with her in my first ever QAL.  Here is my finished Ninja Stars.  They could be twins, right?

Then this spring while I was poking around on Pinterest I found pins and pages for quilts by Jen Kingwell. Holy Hannah, I had no words when I first viewed some of her beautiful patterns. I knew the moment I first laid eyes on it that “The Gypsy Wife” was going to be my next project.  I scampered around on the Internet, searching Pinterest, Flikr and Instagram until I found a QAL just starting.  Thank you Hydeeann at Splish, Splash, Stash for all the great planning, photos, first couple months, etc.  Unfortunately this QAL host was unable to continue posting for personal reasons so I followed along with the group through March 2016  and then had to decide to put the half finished top away or tackle the rest of the project on my own.  I decided to continue at my own pace and stumbled along, posting about it a time or two along the way.  I cried a few tears when I thought it might be too complicated, and swore at it more than once…but it’s done, (quilted and bound) and IT IS AMAZING.  Just saying.  Here is a sneak peek, which is all I’m showing because I’m saving it to show at my Kindred Spirits Quilt Show coming up in October.

Last summer I sewed along with Sharon McConnell of Color Girl Quilts  in the  2015 Summer Blockbuster Quilt Along. We made this absolutely lovely quilt using 6″ finished blocks.  Check out the link above to see all the Quilt-Alongs she has hosted.  Awesome, right?

In January, 2016 I committed to making “The Splendid Sampler” with Pat Sloan and a whole crew of other seriously talented designers.  I’m sure most of you have heard of it.  We are a group of about 18,000 (OMG) quilters around the world who are determined, one way or another, to finish this mammoth 100 block project.  I, of course, decided to make two of these quilts.  (WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? SERIOUSLY!!!) And, without a doubt folks it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  More than once, I thought I cannot do this anymore (probably because many of the blocks are not to my taste, or alternatively, not what I think the proposed owners of the quilts will like, or even what I thought I was signing on for).  But I am going forward, one step at a time.  Currently we are somewhere around Block 40 and scheduled to finish next February, at a pace of two blocks per week.  I like many others decided early on, that I would start setting the blocks as we go, as I cannot imagine having to set two 100-block quilts at the end.  Here is a sneak peek at the settings for these quilts so far.

I decided at the get-go that I would make the blocks I like and substitute the ones I don’t care for, for blocks taken from Tula Pink’s amazing City Sampler – 100 Modern Quilt Blocks  book… BTW, if ever you get the chance, you should buy or borrow, beg or steal this book.  I bought it and its chock full of absolutely ahhhmazing stuff.

And next, beginning in September,  I along with several others in my PEIMQG are planning to take part in another QAL co-hosted by an extraordinarily talented quilter,  mentor and my good friend and fellow PEIMQG member, Jean Mackie.  This QAL is based on Elizabeth Hartman’s “Patchwork City” quilt(s).  I’ve purchased the book and at this point am planning to make the “Downtown” Version of the quilt.

Someone, please save me from myself.  Its clear to me that there are more quilt-alongs out there than I can possibly finish unless I live to be 103!

 

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Not your Grandma’s Genes.

I love all of Jen Kingwell’s patterns and designs. They are, without fail,  awesomely, outrageously,  scrappy and most of them are bursting at the seams with very tiny details.  You have to go to Amitie Textiles to see what is happening at her shop…. OMG absolutely amazing, right.

Earlier this year I fell under the spell of “The Gypsy Wife”.  In my opinion that’s a perfect name for this unique quilt. I love it for its riot of amazing colours, its simple blocks and of course, its general disregard for the tried and true ordinary methods of quilt piecing. So very bohemian, so very me wannabe!   I started piecing it along with a group of bold and beautiful quilters in the 2016 Gypsy Wife Quilt Along but couldn’t wait to finish it, so now my version of it is at Blueberry Cove Long Arm Quilting Studio being magically transformed from a slightly wonky quilt top (my pressing problems, not the pattern’s fault)  to an incredible work of art.  Stay tuned for finished pics in another post, or pop over to my Pinterest page and look here to see how it all came together.

Today however,  I’m all about “Gene Pool”.  Its another design and pattern by Jen Kingwell, and OMG I have fallen even deeper into love.  You can find all the details of the pattern over at Amitie Textiles, or by clicking on this little button.

After all the angst that comes with piecing a complex pattern,  it is such a joy to contemplate putting a simple quilt top together.  Gene Pool looks like it fits that bill.  It looks like it should go together almost impossibly smoothly…so naturally there has to be a catch.  Of course there is.  Colour placement is key on this beauty.  Let me show me a bit of what I mean.

After I had cut about 30 “pools” of fabric, I started tossing them up on my wall, expecting to be bowled over by my artistic interpretation of the pattern. That did not happen, nosiree bob it did not.  FYI, I was expecting to have a harmonious blending of greens and blues.Imagine my surprise and horror when I looked at this muddy, disheveled grouping.  Yikes what was I doing wrong.

(Please ignore the other stuff on the wall…I am also involved in a bee block with my PEIMQG and the Splendid Sampler and a Frank Lloyd Wright challenge etc.)

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I looked at the wall, then at the pattern picture, then back at the wall about a million times before I realized that peaceful effortless effect would take a scientific, careful, precise plan… I was going to have to pull it all down and start over.  Sigh…But on the bright side,  I was going to need MORE NEUTRAL LIGHT COLORED FABRIC.  Yay. Woohoo,   Yippee. Lucky me.

I went shopping at my new favourite Canadian on line shop, Mad About Patchwork, where I purchased this lovely compilation of light neutrally(ish) fabrics.

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Aren’t they just amazing. I am so lucky to have found this place!

I went back to my cutting board and design wall to see what would happen if I added more pools of softer versions of the colour scheme.

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Here is where I’m at now.  I LOVE IT…but there are still a few darker sections that I will have to break up a bit more and of course, I have to add another 30 or so pools of colour.  I think when its done, I will call this one HOLY HECK HANNAH.

Have yourselves a crazy creative day.

 

Please pass the Catch-up

Just a quick post to catch you all up with my quilting projects and share my newest quilt-along.   I expect everyone is tired to death of hearing about my experiences with the Splendid Sampler, so I am not going to say much about it, just that these are the most recent blocks completed. I am still making two sets, 1 for “Stefanie’s Splendid Sampler” and 1 “Just for Jessica”. I still don’t have a layout planned for the blocks, but ideas are churning away in my mind. Stay tuned…

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And, now its all about my newest Quilt-Along for 2016 – The Gypsy Wife.  This is an amazing quilt and its been a long time since I was so excited to be pulling fabrics and piecing blocks.  The pattern comes in a 29 page booklet!!! OMG…There are nine multiple block sections. Actually its not difficult, its just a bit convoluted, because of the way the pattern is set out, versus the way I’m putting everything together. Here is what it should look like when its done.

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My apologies to the amazing quilt artist who pieced this, its beautiful, but I cannot locate my source. I promise to give proper credit when I find it.

My fabulous quilt-along blog host is linked here.  Her site is called Splish Splash Stash. Go check it out if you are inclined to.  Its a great place to visit, with some fabulous links and how-to’s.

My Gypsy Wife goes together in sections. To date, I have Section 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 finished.  See…

Today, there is a huge winter storm brewing on PEI, so my plan is to finish Section 7 if all goes well (Section 7 falls directly below all these sections and when its done, I’ll be able to see the whole length together), then on to Section 6, 8 and 9.  Yippee, Hooray, the plan is coming together.

Today is a great day to have an insanely creative day.  Enjoy.

 

Its a “Splendid” Day here on PEI….

Can you believe we have 6 blocks done already on the Splendid Sampler? Holy Heck Hermione time flies when I’m in my sewing room.

And, I wonder how many of you, like me, made at least 2 of each one (except for the flower pot– I loved it the way it turned out the first time)…lookit lookit, its so cute,  I could just kiss it!

Now IMHO, my blocks are super cute, but I would chop off a limb to be as talented as some of the quilters in this group.  Holy Moley.  Here are some of  my favourite blocks to date. I think the Simple Simon block in solids is jaw-droppingly (not sure that’s a real word, but seriously folks) gorgeous.

I took these pics from the Splendid Sampler Facebook Block Link Page.  Its here and well worth taking a look if you have an hour or ten to sit and drool over the beautiful blocks being put out there.

I’m thrilled to be part of this group and so excited that some of my Kindred Spirits guild members are taking part too.  Watch for Roberta Giddings to post her blocks.  She is an amazing quilter. Here are her first five blocks. You can bet hers were perfect the first time around!12798838_10206958917265148_5915050665756633345_n.jpg

Just beautiful….

 

Just thinking and planning..

 

I don’t know about anyone else who is planning their year around “The Splendid Sampler” blocks on Thursdays and Sundays, but I am really excited to see what the setting(s) for the blocks will look like when we are all done.  Last summer I did a 6″ block sampler  hosted by Sharon McConnell at Color Girl Quilts. Hers was called  Super Summer Blockbuster 2015 and below is a photo of my finished quilt. Almost identical right?  I know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but…

this time I want to stretch my wings a bit and make this quilt entirely my own, so I am already auditioning settings in my notebook.

FYI, I am in the middle of  a love affair with the settings used in  Amite’s “The Gypsy Wife”sampler…Can you imagine making a quilt this fabulous? Holy Heck !!! it’s stunning.  And, how about Tula Pink’s  “The City Sampler” as put together by Kim on her blog, Persimmon Dreams.  Both are simply amazing and awe-inspiring right?

So the question of the day is…Should I design a modern(ish) setting myself? or will I wait to see what is offered by the Splendid Sampler designers?  I DON’T THINK I CAN WAIT…Stay tuned, I’ve got my notebook and crayons out and a plan forming in my head.

BTW,  for some reason technology and I are having issues loading these two pics here.  So check out Block 3 and Block 4 of the Splendid Sampler over there on my sidebar, or see them on Instagram at Grannycanquilt.

 

 

I think I can…I think I can…

First of all, I gotta say good morning and thanks so much to all of you quilty folks out there who are on this roller coaster ride called “The Splendid Sampler” with me.  Holy OMG… so many of you came to visit me here at GRANNYcanQUILT, I was thrilled, tickled pink,  gobsmacked, and over the moon with excitement.  Of course I went to visit all your blogs (I HOPE), loved what I read, clicked the “follow me” button  and now I have a satisfying large number of blogs I’m following on Bloglovin.  Thanks so much, I am definitely going to need each and every one of you before this ride is over.

Your blogs are chock-a-block full of support, tips and suggestions for putting together Block 3 and contained  some of the best advice I’ve been given in years. Here is a “For example.” The Crafty Creek was posting about her experiences so far with those tiny pieces (which completely mirrors the angst, joy, terror, and hope for a good outcome I had when constructing the block.) She mentioned another great blog which was helpful to her.  Its called Bitsfromthescrapbasket.  You gotta read this post.  It may have single-handedly solved most of my piecing problems.  The specific thing that clicked for me is keeping the heart rectangles intact, when building the blocks.  It’s too difficult for me to explain here and why would I? Elisa provided a “Tute” that sets it all out perfectly. GO THERE, you’ll be SO glad you did.  It has me so inspired that I think I may actually go ahead and make a third attempt at all those tiny hearts.  So, just for fun, here is a photo of ALL THOSE TINY PIECES AGAIN. (So far I’ve cut about a gazillion little scraps and I swear this is the last bunch.  Now I just have to draw a line on all those pip squeaky squares.

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I feel like I should be singing…99 bottles of beer on the wall,

So, I said to myself, I’m not going to be one of those people who post a picture of every block on Instagram or Facebook and I’m certainly not going to blog about it. But…..I was wrong…apparently I am going to do that… sometimes… and I cannot help myself with this first block.

FYI, if you don’t already know, I’ve signed up to complete the “Splendid Sampler” online.  Its a huge, free,  year-long,  sew-along that will give me 100- 6 1/2″ blocks sewn into a sampler quilt when its all over.  The party started yesterday.  For the next 52 weeks we will receive instructions for 2 blocks, with the exception of Xmas week and one other week.

But the reason I’m writing about it here, is that there are many things that we will be asked to do when constructing these blocks including appliqué, paper piecing, english paper piecing, hexies, etc.  I have very strong feelings about some of these things, especially appliqué and hexes having tried both before and have never been happy with the results.

So imagine how ambivalent I was, when the first block out of the gate was an appliquéd heart. But not to worry, I proceeded to work my plan…prepare appliqué blocks with wool or felt, because there is almost no preparation and the blocks go together rapidly.  IMHO the block did go together well.  Here it is Block One of the Splendid Sampler, Heart’s A-flutter.

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But the really exciting thing is that while I was looking at other folk’s blocks, I read about a method of appliqué which I had never tried before… It’s called back basting and  here is a link to the tutorial by Joan Ford of Winging it. This my friends, is what this sew-along is actually about, trying new things, or old things in new ways,  if you’d rather think about it that way.

So with no further ado, here is my block that I made earlier today following this technique.

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Though not quite perfect, it is I think perfectly respectable for the first ever – no template, needle turn appliqué method.  CHECK OUT THAT POODLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HEART. ISN’T THAT JUST TOO CUTE FOR WORDS.  I’M CALLING IT.  “I LOVE POODLES”.

Now I have to go.  Ron just picked up the mail and there is a box for me from Connecting Threads…Yea!