Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Okay, so the star quilt . ..

This quilt started last winter, when I joined the Threads Together Quilting Bee back in February. The month before I had picked up Kaffe's "Kaliedescope of Quilts" while on holidays, and was admiring his Ohio Star quilts. Then, American Patchwork and Quilting featured a quilt made with tiny Ohio Stars on its cover. Since I was quite enamored with the block, I decided to try making one for Jennicakes as one of her blocks -- I chose a medium size 8inch finished block. I wanted to do a test one before I messed around with her fabric, and so I made this block:

That solitary block sat around on my inspiration board for a while looking at me, saying, "I could be a quilt, you know . . I could be a quilt that used all your Pop Garden scraps, even . . . " And I realized that it was true. This size of star was just big enough to use up some of my favorite scraps, and could also include some wonderful fat quarters people had sent along with swap packages in the last while. So I pulled all the fabrics, cut them up and stitched the blocks together.

Next, I imitated one of my favorite quilters, Jaquie over at Tallgrass Prarie Studios, who made this star quilt , which I have admired for a long time. I almost chickened out on making the blocks slightly wonky, but Katy encouraged me.

I added the borders because I wanted it to be a bit bigger, and after a bit of hemming and hawing I took a deep breath and used the red peonies and blue daisies. I adore these fabrics, which was why I was being silly and hoarding them in a plastic bin in the basement. I decided I would much rather have them gracing my living room, so I went ahead and used them. I don't know if you can see in the photos, but I made the borders a little wonky, too. They are built around the quilt almost log cabin style. This meant set in seams, but I like the result despite the aggrivation in the moment.

The backing is made of all that cordoroy, with a row of scraps in the middle. It is really soft, but makes it quite a heavy quilt.

The one thing that I don't really like about this quilt is that I under quilted it. I was in a hurry to finish it before Emma got here, and between its size (60 X 74) and its weight, it was a wrestling match to run this baby through my machine. I settled for quilting about a quarter of an inch in from the stars and then quilting slightly crooked lines in between the blocks. If I'd had more time I would have done more lines and also quilted in the square frames, and maybe tried some free motion stuff around the borders. But I decided to just get it done instead of spending an extra week or two on it.

It is a really heavy quilt, and it drapes a little funny because it is under-quilted, but I'm sure that will wear away with washing, or maybe I'll go back and do some more quilting on it later (can you do that? I suppose I can always find out, can't I?)

In any case, it definitely cheers up my living room, and I love the way it glows in the cool, faint winter sunshine. And that is what matters, isn't it? I have lots of years to make beautiful, artistically perfect quilts. For now, most of my really great artistry seems to go into smaller quilts, that I can easily manage to run through my machine and that take a short time, while my bigger quilts tend to have more of a "just get it done so we can use it" quality about them. Which is okay. I am enjoying having more and more handmade things around our house, even if they are not perfect or show / selling quality. They brighten up our house and make it more of a home, and that is really the point.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Apparently there's a holiday coming up?

We haven't really noticed here yet. We've all been busy:

enjoying our baby moon. And finding a new routine. And amusing ourselves when it is suddenly -30C. And cleaning up the chaos that results from said amusements.

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well. If I ever get the Christmas tree we've been given out of the garage and get it decorated, I'll let you know.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Welcome to the world . . .

Emma Claire! We're very glad to meet you!
This is Emma, as we first met her on Sunday night at 8:10 pm, just before the Riders lost the Grey Cup.

And here she is today, much more settled in, though still sleepy. We are both recovering well.

Her brothers adore her, though they are missing their usual mom time a fair bit.

Emma was kind enough to let me finish my quilt before she came. More on that, plus birth story, etc, to come when I get a chance to breathe.