Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Quilt Project . . .

I used to try to just have one project on the go at a time, but I think I have four quilts, a tunic and a dress in progress right now. This is going to be a quilt for our bed, which is a king size:
I have been hoarding this fabric since I bought it here , and adding co-ordinates as I found them. In the winter I bought the solids from Anna Maria Horner's shop in a lovely stack, and just recently I started looking for a pattern. At first I was going to just do a random-square-and-rectangle type quilt, but that didn't feel quite right. I wanted something with a little more structure to it. I like how this pattern is simple, but not too simple, will show off the big patterns in the Good Folks prints well, and allow me to play with fabric scale, colour and value.

I bought the two fabrics on the far right just the other day because I needed some more lights (I never have enough calm, neutral fabric . . . I just forget to buy it) and I wanted to pick up some at my local fabric shop. The creamy one has tone-on-tone silhouettes of kids playing and a giant cloud turtle. It is so fun to cut into these giant triangles as you can see the pictures if you look closely.

Before I cut my entire precious stash up I decided to make a test block to see if I liked it.I have only partially sewn this together, and I think I do like it, although I mis-cut the large white triangles that make up the big outer star, and it means my points are all going to be lost in this block. Ah well, it will be my vanity block:

I like how the colours are refreshing and relaxing at the same time. More updates on this quilt as I work on it. If I actually put my mind to it, I think the piecing will be very fast.

During this busy month we've been . . .

Keeping busy at home while Dad was away . . .
building cities in the sandbox after the rain

at the local awesome splash park

playing outside the new pool on the ramp
Then venturing off to Bible Camp to hang out with our friends (nothing like having a beach right there during a heat wave ) . . . .

spending our 25 cents at tuck

got my friends to take this one to show my awesome multi-tasking abilities (notice the half bound quilt on top of the stroller?)

Andrew and Aaron were especially glad to see their friends from church whose parents are volunteering at the camp for four months
oh yeah, and recovering from the stomach flu (I will spare you the gory details of two sick children in a tent - fortunately / unfortunately this was the night Dave showed up back from Italy) . . .
you might be wondering why there are no blankets or sleeping bags in this photo . . . don't ask. Really.
and, of course, setting up a Lego brain surgery lab . . .
I have a finished quilt and an amazing swap package to post about, too, but they deserve their own posts.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Rail Fence Quilt

So, I got this far on the back of my rail fence quilt, and decided that this has to be its own quilt. First, this is too stunning to be on the back of anything else. Second, two sides of different strips sets would be majorly overstimulating. I do love this quilt top, though, and I'm going to sew it together just like this:

Fun enough, the only thing I picked was which side I was going to add new strips onto. Even this final layout was just how they ended up on the floor after being laid out with very little thought. I love the mixture of chance and intuition that made this quilt top. It is going to be very fun to finish later this year.

In the mean time, once I had decided not to use this as the back of my rail fence quilt, I realized that actually the Nicey Jane print I had bought meters of for another plan that fell through would work perfectly with the blues in the Meadowsweet prints on the front of the quilt, and provide a nice calm balance to the front:
See , isn't that better? I think so too. I'm in the middle of quilting this in organic squiggles that run the opposite direction of each strip set. So far it is a really effective way to pulling all the fabric together in the quilt. The quilted squares look much more finished. I'm using a light pink thread I already had, which strangely enough, seemed to work with the quilt and add something it needed as well.
I'm really excited to finish this quilt. I want to be done everything but the binding before we go to Family Camp at a local Bible Camp next week. I figure that binding the quilt will be a fun, manageable take-along project. I'm a little hesitant, since we can only afford to tent and make our own food, which will be a bit of a hassle, but lots of the other families with kids our age from church are going, so the boys should have fun and be fairly easy to manage. Its a good way for me to keep building a new support system here, and it should be fun even if I'm making our food and tenting. Another family we know is doing the same thing so I think we're going to divy up meals and take turns feeding each other's families.

In any case, I'm excited to have this quilt for me. Andrew was giving me a lecture today about how I'm not allowed to give anymore quilts away. "You give all your best quilts away, Mom. No more swaps, and no more giving quilts away." I was thinking about how I do tend to give away my best both in quilts, energy, time and ideas. In the tradition I grew up in that meant I was really spiritual. Sometimes I think it just means I de-value myself and don't think I deserve to enjoy the fruits of my own labour.

Can you tell I've been the only adult in the house for two days now? I'm totally rambling. I promise I'll be more pithy (as my Dad used to like to say) next time.

The Girl on a Swing Dress

 Remember how I mentioned that I had been doing some clothes sewing? Here is one of my favorite results: the Girl on a Swing dress. My local quilt / fabric store had some of this cute fabric from the Sherbert Pips line in stock, and I decided it was perfect to make a little something for Emma.
 Although she didn't feel like posing when I was taking the photos, she loves this dress once you get it on her. This fabric is really light weight for the summer and it is loose and cozy. One of my favorite features (if I do say so myself) is the red bias tape I made for the neckline and sleeves - it makes it look like a Chineese dress.
Also, the sweet polka dotted pocket and ric-rak trim are pretty cute, too. It goes perfectly with these leggings, which cover Emma's knees. This is essential these days. After all, when you're just learning to run and you have two big brothers to keep up with, you fall and scrape your knees. All the time.

Just a sidenote: U2 is playing Montreal tonight. I'm not there because Dave is in Rome, and I would have wanted to go with him, but I can hear them from my house. They are at the Hippodrome, which is not too far from me (maybe a 10 - 15 min. drive depending on traffic). I heard the rumbling bass and high tenor singing when I came into the kitchen after putting the kids to bed and thought, "No, it can't be." But then they played something with the famous guitar reverb (possibly "Where the Streets Have No Name") and I knew it was them. It is just on the edge of hearing, so I can only sort of make out what songs they are playing, but it is pretty cool none the less. And I can definitely hear the crowd cheering.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Quick Update!

Hello, everyone! Thanks so much for all the comments about my Grandma. The funeral was really good and I was glad I went. She was 93, had outlived all her friends, and was fading to the point where she could not remember anyone, and did not even remember how to knit anymore. She had such a full life, and was such a firecracker, that I am sure she is happier now.

The trip was good; I got to catch up with my brother, sister and neice, who I drove up with. I saw my cousin who I haven't seen in years and got to know my aunt. I felt sad that my family wasn't closer, but distance and strong personalities meant that I didn't know my grandmother as well as I might have otherwise.

Now I'm on my second Odessey - 10 days without my husband. He's gone to Rome to do a research trip, lucky duck. I'm sure he'll have tons of amazing architecture and mosaic photos to inspire me when he comes back.

The mermaids are awesome, and deserve to be their own quilt, so I picked a different (and totally obvious, now that I think of it) backing for the rail fence quilt. It is rambling its way through the sewing machine as we speak (well, not right this second while I'm typing). Excited to show it to you soon.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

 This quilt back is coming together really quickly. I love the juxtaposition of the yellows / oranges with the purples and browns. The concept is that the strips will look like coral or seaweed and bubbles waving in the ocean currents, with the fish and sea creatures and swimmers peeking through the vegetation.
Wether it "works" or not, I love the colours and it will be a fun quilt back. Or maybe this will be the front . .?

My grandmother died a two days ago, and I found out yesterday morning. We were not super close, but I am going to the funeral. I'm taking a bus to Ottawa, then driving up with my brother Rob and sister Kim. Its 9ish hours across Northern Ontario to New Liskeard. I kind of feel like I'm about to enter the plot of a Can lit novel or road trip movie . . . wish me luck.