Basket Quilt • top finished

Baskets of Food quilt top

Hanging from the thick strands of my wisteria vine, my baskets quilt found a home for a few minutes, while I took photos.  Many of these blocks were made for me by my beemates in the Gridsters Bee, and while I was in recovery, I made some more.  I finally got them all sewn up, after trying to figure out the arrangement, and got the borders on.  I’ll send it off to Darby soon (I’m working on finishing another quilt top, and want to send her two), and then finish this up.

It seems like I’m in a Finishing Mode right now, and it feels good to get some of these quilts out of the cupboard and done.

Gluten-free cookie

This giant cookie is a first for me: first gluten-free recipe ever made, and first recipe that has tahini as an ingredient.  Recipe from Joy the Baker.  Review: I liked the tahini, but husband didn’t. Baked it in a 9-inch cake pan, it needed 10 more minutes baking than she said in her recipe, but 8 more minutes would have been better.   I thought it was yummy.

March Temp Quilt_April1

The garden is slightly underwhelming right now, as we’ve been eating the winter vegetables of Rainbow Chard and lettuce, but the addition of March’s blocks to my Temperature Quilt livens things up!  I decided to plant my tomato seed directly into the garden, and then put plastic cups over where I’d planted, so I could keep it moist.  I’m happy to report that all four varieties have now sent up sprouts.  The big-leafed plant in front is a zucchini, from the garden store.

March Temp Quilt_April2

From food baskets, to a giant cookie, to gardens, this post is now at an end.  To bring it full circle, the genesis of the basket quilt was that I had been saving food fabrics for eons, and finally decided I wanted them to go into baskets.  So I close this post with some food quotes:

Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.  ~Byron

“Here, dearest Eve,” he exclaims, “here is food.”  “Well,” answered she, with the germ of a housewife stirring within her, “we have been so busy to-day that a picked-up dinner must serve.”  ~ Hawthorne

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.  Proverbs 15:17

Enough is as good as a feast. ~John Heywood

To veer off theme just a little, I enjoyed this article in the New York Times about the traditional quilting of Hawaii.

Happy quilting!

All Are Friends In Heaven • Quilt Finish

AllFriendsinHeaven_4full quilt

All Are Friends in Heaven
Quilt #188  • 78″ square

This quilt, made of 6″ blocks designed by famous Japanese quilter Chuck Nohara, is finally finished.  We took it out to the local area for some shots with wildflowers, as it’s been such a beautiful year.  My husband was the best quilt holder (thank you, dear). Although her name reads masculine, Chuck Nohara is a woman who taught quilting to many in Japan in the 1970s and 80s.

While I am currently past 200 quilts in the listing, I first posted about this top at the #188 slot.  Rather than rework my lengthy listings, I decided to slide it into place where I first wrote about it.  I will link it to this post, showing its completion (which is why I don’t like to only post the quilt tops, preferring instead to number the quilts when they are finished).

AllFriendsinHeaven_1

 

 

Why has it taken so long?  I had always wanted to quilt it myself.  But one bad week during my recent recovery from rotator cuff surgery, I realized (or believed) that I would never quilt again, so had my husband help me box it up and send it off to Darby for quilting.

AllFriendsinHeaven_5quilting

I chose this meandering loopy pattern for the quilting, and I’m quite happy with it.

AllFriendsinHeaven_7

AllFriendsinHeaven_Label

The title comes from a poem by Robert Pollock, a religious poet from Scotland.  I liked the idea of that line, that we are all friends in heaven, as this quilt was made when Susan from Australia, and I (from California) corresponded and chose blocks to work on, as we both had a hankering to make a “Chuck Nohara” quilt.  That seems so far away, although with FaceTime videos, emails and notes, the distance does shrink.

When I first did research on all these little tiny blocks, one blogger called them Friendship Blocks.  They were made by the hundreds by Japanese quilters, sent in to teams who would take all the blocks, make quilts with them, which would then be auctioned off with money going to charity at the Tokyo Quilt Show.  Now these blocks are pretty widely called Charity Blocks, but because Susan and I, friends across the ocean, chose to make them together, I’ve always thought of them as an expression of friendship.  And as we participated in the online groups, we made other friends.  So they still remain Friendship Blocks in my mind.

Chuck Nohara book

ChuckNoharaChoices12_15

We each chose two per month, and I’d make a little sign like this and we’d put them up on our IG accounts and blogs and get to making.  I realize that the quilt photos in this post are from far away, you can head to the link #chucknohara_opquilt on Instagram and see all the blocks that I have posted.  We also tagged them #chucknoharaQAL so they’d be grouped with others around the world who were making these tiny blocks.

Chuck Nohara11_15 blocks

My first set of blocks, finished in December 2015.  Yes, from start to finish, it’s been a little over three years to finish up this quilt.  I seem to excel at the long game.  Here’s Susan’s quilt:

Chuck Nohara_SusanS.jpg

Such a different, and wonderful, quilt from the same blocks.  Here’s a closer picture of my quilt without the quilting:

Chuck Nohara Final TopThe upper left block is her signature block.  The lower right block is mine.  I planned that the outer stars would run from deeper green, to yellow, and back to green as they moved along the edges.

AllFriendsinHeaven_6

Chuck Nohara_photo

Thank you, Chuck Nohara!

 

EPPing again with French General

Sometime ago, I glimpsed this quilt in an Instagram feed:

The description says it’s from the North Country of England, so I’ve taken to calling it the North Country Patchwork Quilt.  The more I looked at it, the more I liked how those red squares just kind of blended into the background on the outer rings, but floated over the foreground in the middle.

I tried to convince my husband to buy it.  That was funny, as he made some comment about didn’t we have enough quilts?  Seriously, he’s nearly perfect, but in the end, I decided to go ahead and make it.

too much to do.jpeg

Because I sure need another project.

But the project I need is a hand project, really–one that can be toted around in the car.  I finished my hexies project, and I finished (thankfully) my millefiore quilt, so now what am I going to do on long car rides?  Just sit there?

Car from the past.jpg

So I drew up the block, working between two different pieces of software: QuiltPro and Affinity Designer, and have created this pattern (click on the following link for free PDF file): North Country Patchwork Quilt

This quilt has 624 pieces in it, and if you divide that by four, you’d have to print out gazillions of the pattern page. So here are my tips for making that go more quickly:

Print off several of the free North Country Patchwork Quilt page.  Like 10.

Stack each printed page with about 4-5 plain pieces of paper.  Staple them together inside the pieces, as shown on the left.

Cut them apart in chunks, like the image on the right, using an old rotary cutter that you’ve dedicated to paper; or, a guillotine paper cutter; or, your paper scissors.

Then further cut them into the individual shapes: a honeycomb and a square.  Remove the staples.

That ought to get you started. No, I didn’t use cardstock, but I had some 24 lb printing paper that I used.  And yes, I’m gluing the fabric to these pieces of paper.   I used this paper when I did my Shine EPP quilt (most blocks are free on this blog) and it worked out just fine.  Repeat this process as you need to.

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I’m going to vary from the fabrics in the original quilt, as I fell in love with this Vive La France line of fabrics from French General.  I’m over the moon for those dusky blues and strong reds.

I worked out some variations of this quilt in QuiltPro software, and they vary by how much of a border is around the central rectangle.  Here they are:

I also had some fun with putting the blocks in more contemporary colors (lower left), but decided I didn’t like that version.  The top three are sort of in the colors of the original quilt and it looks like to me, it was someone who was making do with cast-offs from her household clothing, as well as men’s shirtings.  But I’m anxious to get going and trying this out in the Vive La France fabrics.

I have no idea how I’m going to sew this together, but I will be concentrating on those arms that come into an X, and somehow I’ll do the red square.

Lastly, a reminder to pre-wash your fabrics: working with reds can be tricky.

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See you in a couple years!

Plitvice • Quilt Finish

Plitvice Quilt_6 with poppies

Plitvice
Quilt #218 • 76 1/2″ square

Plitvice Quilt_1 full

After four years, I finally finished up the quilt of multiple pieced hexagons.  Yes, every seam on that top is hand-stitched. I’ve had many posts about this, but here’s its final and complete post: it is done!

Plitvice Quilt_2 back

Back of the quilt, using an Andover Fabrics wideback fabric. No piecing, no fussing around.  This was so slick–just buy the three yards and send it off to the quilter, Darby of Quilted Squid, who did a great job.

Plitvice Quilt_3 labelPlitvice Quilt_4 OPquilt

About that edge binding: it was supposed to be a faced binding, tucked behind the quilt, but once I saw it on the edge, that was the missing piece that fell into place for me.  I wasn’t quite sure I liked this pile of English paper-piecing, until I saw that.  But I stab-stitched the facing in perle cotton all the way around, to get that nice tight, bound edge look.  That’s why it’s so large on the back–I didn’t want to cut down the width of my facing, so I went with it.

Plitvice Quilt_5 detailPlitvice Quilt_5aPlitvice Quilt_7 on poppies

And if you’ve been reading my Instagram account, you know we are poppy-crazy out here with our California Superbloom, so we took the quilt on one of our poppy-hunting treks to get the two photos you see in this post.

Plitvice Words on Label

 

Plitvice_1

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

You can use the tags on this post (click on them) to search for other entries of this quilt, if more information is needed.  Many thanks to Katja Marek for starting us on the Millefiore road.

 

Field Flowers • Top Finished

Field Flowers_1

Field Flowers (quilt top only)
69″ wide by 74 1/2″ tall

I took it out in the backyard for some photos, easily done with my new quilt stand.  It’s very satisfying to look at this, noticing scraps of fabric here and there that remind me of different quilts and times.

Field Flowers_4

The pattern is Flowers for Emma, by Sherri McConnell, and like a true A Quilting Life pattern, it’s easy to follow and a lovely design. [You can also buy it at Fat Quarter Shop.]  I’ve already tucked the completed quilt top away in the closet, awaiting its quilting (at some time in the future).  I added a couple of extra rows and a couple of hexie blocks to lengthen out each row, wanting it a bit bigger. Field Flowers_start.jpg

Here’s where I started, a year ago on April 25, 2018.  Nice to be at the “finished top” stage.

Riverside Flowers_1

I’m calling this Field Flowers, as each petal of my hexie flowers is small, and contains  visual treasures, like this vista of wildflowers in bloom on the hills around our city.

These are all closeups of small flowers at my feet: pops of color that delight.  So instead of a “Field of Flowers,” I chose “Field Flowers,” a different connotation entirely.

tiny-nine-patches

Field Flowers_being photo'ed

Backstage, after the fans have gone home.

tiny-nine-patches

Supermoon.jpg

The spring equinox supermoon is tonight. Don’t forget to look!
(You can also see it tomorrow night, too.)

 

Temperature Quilt, Etc.

Temperature Quilt_11

I’m making progress on my temperature quilt.  I don’t attach the months together until they are complete, so what’s shown is only January and February.  In my garden.  Of course.

Temperature Quilt_12

The Los Angeles Times published the unique factoid that our past February was the coldest it had been in 113 years.  I was remembering back to last year when we had a high of 84.  We get cranky in Southern California when it is that hot, that early in the year.  So we’re all loving this year, of course.

Wunderground, which is owned by Weather.com, has changed up my easy-access for looking up past weather.  So, after some searching, I found the Time and Date had the information I needed.  Their information for March for my area is not presented in a neat little calendar, but in a scrolling graph.  It works for me, though.  (Don’t know why Wunderground changed everything–now it only gives forecasts, not history, and yes, I sent them an email.)

Temperature Gauge for quilt

I finished my “Temperature Gauge” block, to go on the back of the quilt.  We had hail (!) the other day, and I wished I had some sort of indicator for that.  But my choice is to keep it simple.

Bee Happy Week 2

I finished Week One’s blocks of the ancient-history Bee Happy Sewalong Quilt, or as I call it, Being Trapped in the Dungeon of Cute.

Sew Sassy threads.jpg

I used Sew Sassy Threads on the detail stitching on the Flower Pot.  It’s a thicker thread, made by Superior Threads, and it sews really easily.  Sometimes on thicker threads I like to use sashiko needles, but I this time used a regular needle with a slightly larger eye and it worked just fine.Bee Happy March 2019

Here they all are together, and yes, they are cute!  Leisa made me promise that there was no deadline for getting this done (we are doing this in tandem), so I’m taking it slowly.  It’s a good project for me to have as I like to have handwork at night to do while I watch Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up episodes.  I live in dread that she is going to ring my doorbell and make me pile up all my fabric on my bed, then make me give away all that doesn’t spark joy, saying thank you to each fat quarter that doesn’t make my heart sing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  

Dublin and Fish and Chips

I leave you with this image of my husband standing out front of a genuine Fish and Chips shop in Dublin, Ireland, when we visited last September.


May your heart sing everytime you touch fabric.

Dublin Fabric Shop

This was right across the street from the Fish & Chips place.