I heard a large vehicle with squeaky brakes park in front of my house because my sewing room window was open. I took a quick peek. It was the postman. I had the front door open before he even got to the steps. He may have thought I was a little weird ... like I'd been sitting by the window all morning just watching and waiting for him to arrive with my package. Clearly he doesn't understand what it's like to get a highly anticipated fabric order delivered.
Here's what he brought ...
Kerri always has an amazing selection of imported Japanese fabrics in really pretty colours.
I didn't have plans for these fat quarters when I bought them. But a delightful opportunity has since come my way and now I know exactly what I'm going to make.
Two years ago (wow, already?) I joined the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Flickr Group.
It was great fun to sew along with so many amazing quilters. I do love this online community.
Now, the FW blocks in the book finish at 6". But I prefer working with smaller scale designs so I tried making 3" blocks.
I soon realized, however, that the fabrics I'd chosen - Lecien's Flower Sugar - had more medium/large scale prints and the tiny pieces required for a 3" block weren't working out. So I ended up making mine 4.5" ... and had these 5 little ones left over.
They've been shuffled around my sewing room a lot for the past two years because I didn't know what to do with them. So many times I had them in my hand as I eyed the garbage bin. But I could never bring myself to toss them ... they were just too cute to throw out.
Am I ever glad I kept them.
One rainy afternoon last week I found them ... yet again ... under a pile of stuff ... and I'd finally found the inspiration I needed to turn them into something thanks to this free pattern by Heather Bailey.
Five somethings, actually ...
Now I know I'm not the first quilter to turn an orphaned block into a pincushion ... not exactly revolutionary.
But it's a personal first ... and can I just say how remarkably satisfying it is to turn a "mistake" into something so gosh darned cute & fabulously useful?
As with my strawberry pincushions, these are stuffed with ground walnut shells. They are firm and weighty. Love them.
(My 10 year old left me a message in the walnut shells bin ... love that kid.)
With the exception of the first pincushion I made (bottom right in the photo below), all the bottoms are quilted too.
So from these ...
And they only took me a day to make.
Plus two years. ;)
* * * Warning: Today's post contains a little potty humour * * *
My girls - 10 & (almost) 12 - have this "game" where they ask if you'd rather do gross/embarrassing thing #1 or gross/embarrassing thing #2. For example, "Would you rather eat a handful of worms or poop your pants in class?"
It's very entertaining for kids. I get it. Although I thought being a mom of only girls would have spared me from being asked these sorts of questions. Apparently I was wrong. Oh so very wrong. And wow do they ever get creative with their scenarios.
How does this relate to quilting, you're probably wondering?
Well, it got me thinking about what I'd rather do than pin a quilt sandwich together.
I could probably come up with at least a million things.
However, I would definitely rather pin a quilt than eat a handful of worms or poop my pants in public.
Children sure do have a way of helping me put things into perspecitve.
Here's the ballerina I enlarged by 200% for the baby quilt I'm working on. She's 2" tall x 4" wide and 3 shades of blue.
The original design is small enough (1" x 2") that each "petal" of the tutu can be made with a single, elongated lazy daisy stitch.
But enlarged, lazy daisies simply won't work. The threads would be too long and loose ... little finger and toes would get caught in them and they'd get pulled out of shape in no time. (Unless I couched them ... but I don't particularly enjoy couch stitching and avoid it whenever possible.) So I altered the design by making the skirt petals with my favourite stem stitch.
And then I added a few lazy daisy flowers and squiggly lines to frame the block.
I was going for "twirly" ...
I'm a little embarrassed to admit the thought of adding some embroidery to this baby quilt for my girlfriend's granddaughter didn't occur to me until I'd already started cutting my fabric. Then I realized - uh, hello - I could stitch something from the embroidery book I wrote. Silly me!
The designs in my book are small - no bigger than 2" x 2". But I'm making this quilt with 6" squares so I just enlarged the ballerina by 200%.
How fantastic is it that I have a ballerina embroidery design to go with the ballet script fabric I'd already bought for this quilt? :)
I'm going to omit the letters and words from the original design. And maybe add some sort of decorative border to the block. Not entirely sure yet. I'm just making this up as I go.
And now I've got some stitching to do this weekend ... couldn't be happier.
Have a good one!
Sorry, couldn't resist the Star Trek reference. ;)
My best friend from high school recently became a grandmother of a darling sweet little girl.
Oy yoy YOY!
I remember - like it was yesterday - the moment we met, way back in the summer of '82. I remember zipping around town in the passenger seat of her "vintage" blue Pinto - standard shift with a hand brake. I remember us cutting class to go shopping ... for dress patterns & fabric, of course. I remember us cutting class to see An Officer & a Gentleman. (Please don't tell my kids.) I remember us laughing so hard while trying to put up a tent ... in the dark ... in the rain ... after a 2 hour drive to the lake. I remember walking down the aisle as her bridesmaid. I remember writing letters when she moved away. I remember her girls' baby showers.
If only I could remember where I put my embroidery scissors the other day ...
Anyhow, this means I get to make a baby quilt! So.much.fun. I haven't made one in ages, it seems. Of all my baby quilt gifts, however, this one is going to have an extra special place in my heart. There have been so many babies for my in-laws, friends, aquaintances & neighbors. But this little girl is the first of the next generation for me.
The nursery is decorated with a Wedgwood blue & chocolate brown colour scheme. After making these pillowcases, I took another look at Tanya Whelan's Petal collection and decided the blues & taupes are perfect for this quilt.
While I was wandering around the quilt shop waiting for my fabric to be cut this print also caught my eye - from Verna Mosquera's Pirouette collection ...
Then it suddenly occured to me that my friend's daughter was an accomplished dancer ... and this apropo script of ballet terminology would make the perfect personal touch for the quilt.
So now you know what I'll be doing this coming weekend. What are you working on? Have you made a baby quilt for a special little someone lately?
It's been a long time since I've done any English paper piecing.
My quilting life began in 1986 with an English paper pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.
Twenty seven years later and I still love this classic design.
The hexagon will forever be my sentimental favorite quilt shape.
I don't know that I will ever manage a large English paper pieced quilt again. But a little project with only about 100 of these? Totally doable.
Although couldn't you just picture a huge quilt made with thousands of these little half-inchers?
PS: I'm glue-basting.
If you're a gardener, you understand what I mean when I say Zone 3 is finally awake.
If you're not a gardener, Zones refer to the coldest extreme of a climate and the corresponding hardiness required by plants to survive that cold. In reference to North America, Zone 1 starts at the North Pole. Here in Zone 3, plants have to tolerate -40C (same as -40F).
I tried for many years to be a Zone 3 gardener.
I was defeated.
This sweet little harbinger of Spring is one of only a few surviving remnants of my early attempts to conquer this climate in pursuit of a lush and bountiful English Cottage garden. Among countless other ill-fated species - everything from foxglove to lavender - I planted 100 of these muscari bulbs. (See? I even remember the Latin term for "grape hyacinth".) If you drove by my house today you'd be hard pressed to believe a gardener had ever lived here, except for this one week in May when these tiny clusters of periwinkle blue pop up to say, "Congratulations, you survived another Canadian winter!"
My muscari forgive me every year for my horticultural failings. I feel like they're reassuring me that not everyone is born to garden, but they appreciate how hard I tried and continue to reward me for my efforts, however misguided they may have been.
If you garden - in any zone - you have my deepest admiration and respect.
If you have an English Cottage garden, please consider inviting me over for a cup of tea some time. ;)
I love pulling fabrics for a new project, especially when the pile ends up looking like this ...
I started out with pink & green in mind. But my quilting muse had other plans for me and I ended up with this dreamy assortment of powdery pinks, muted creams & silver grays.
I have big plans for these fabrics.
Or rather little plans.
Half inch hexagon plans, to be exact. :)