Big Pink Star Quilt

An inelegant name for this quilt but so far that’s the best I can come up with.  This block measures 18″ tip to tip.  At the moment, I’m thinking about using only this pink fabric and the cream and making a total of 9 of these stars.  That would give me a 54″ square centre and then I think I’d do something with a border that included some smaller stars.  That’s a very preliminary plan.  Putting the star together was fun as there were tons and tons of opportunities for continuous stitching.

Pressing it was quick and easy to do, as I pressed after each round of diamonds was added to the centre star.  The back:

I was notified yesterday that Chintz Circles had won the contest — so thank you to everyone who voted for it!  I’m thrilled it won and can’t wait to call my aunt today to tell her that her quilt won in an online quilt contest.  I think she’ll get a kick out of it.

The trip to the vet’s office with Lester didn’t start well.  He really did not want to go in the carrier and we were both afraid he’d have a heart attack as he was getting very stressed.  We were literally at the point of giving up and just calling the vet to describe his symptoms when we were able to finally get him in the carrier without causing him more stress.  He has an upper respiratory infection which is apparently not uncommon in kitties who have HCM.  So he’s back on antibiotics, but a different one this time.  The difference within a few hours of his first dose was incredible.  He spent a lot of time curled up resting on the pink couch, and we’re all feeling much better now having seen the huge improvement.

Smudge seems to be watching him too.

The Making of Chintz Circles

As Chintz Circles is entered in this week’s contest at Quilting Gallery (and you can go vote here), I thought it might be sort of fun to look back at the process of making it. The picture above was taken almost immediately after I finished stitching down the binding but before it was washed.

But this is where it began back in late March of this year.  I used the Inklingo Orange Peel Deluxe collection to print all the Alabama Beauty shapes on the back of my fabrics, which makes a quilt like this so achievable!  No tracing of templates or worrying about matching points on curved seams — they were all there for me. Once I had determined I wanted to get that circle effect, I did have to be careful about my fabric placement.  When I got the first four blocks hand pieced by early April and saw the partial circles beginning to appear, I was thrilled.

By April 7,  2 complete circles had appeared.

By April 12, a total of 6 circles had appeared.

By April 21, 2010, there were 9 complete circles.

By April 26, a total of 12 circles had shown up.

Adding rows took a bit longer the larger it got, but by May 18 there were a total of 16 circles:

By the time the middle of June rolled around, it was up to 24 circles:

By June 21 a total of 30 circles had appeared, the hand piecing was completed and the top was finished.

Then the backing was found, the quilt was basted and the machine quilting began. By July 19, I had started tacking down the binding and the next day the picture shown at the top of this post was taken.

Then came the best part.  On August 1, 2010 the quilt was presented to my aunt on her 90th birthday.

Making Chintz Circles was a true labour of love and I owe thanks to Karen Dianne whose post inspired me to make the circles the predominant feature and to Linda Franz, the inventor of Inklingo, which I think is the best thing to happen in quilting since the rotary cutter and without which I doubt very much that I would have ever made Chintz Circles.

If you’ve stayed with me to the end of this post, please go to Quilting Gallery and vote!  You can vote here.

Chintz Circles & My Aunt

Sunday was the big day, my aunt’s 90th birthday.  She is an absolutely amazing lady — sharp as can be and has a fabulous sense of humour.  I have the most wonderful memories of playing double solitaire with her at the cottage.  The two of us would be laughing like hyenas and my mother, who was always a sports fan, would be trying to listen to a baseball game on the radio.  She usually gave up and went out on the porch to listen to her baseball game.

The birthday party was at a golf club.  The setting was beautiful.  This was the table just before dinner began.  My aunt is sitting with her son and daughter standing on either side of her in this picture.

Between courses, my aunt was opening gifts.   I love the wide-eyed look when she saw her quilt!

The quilt was washed and dried on Sunday afternoon and it got that wonderful crinkly look.  I think if you click on this picture to enlarge it you can see the effect.

The label for the quilt, before it was appliqued on to the back:

The best part? I know my aunt will use the quilt.  I enjoyed making that quilt and knowing it will be used makes every hand stitch and the fabric wrestling, aka machine quilting, a real labour of love.

There was some big news at the party on Sunday.  There will be a new addition to the family in February, and I’m planning a quilt now.   I’ve got a few ideas floating around in my mind, but no definite plan.

Looking out the window of the dining room, Mr. Q.O. got this shot of a cardinal.

My hands/wrists are definitely somewhat better, so starting today I will get caught up on replying to comments and will finally be able to start visiting blogs and leaving comments.  Monday is a holiday here in Ontario and we’re about to head back into high heat and humidity.  After Saturday, when 70 felt cold, I look forward to the warmth again.

Smudge, generally speaking, ignores cat toys.  But there is one which he absolutely loves.  A friend sent the kitties what we call the caterpillar or “Cappy”.  They have been playing with one for a few years but it was starting to look pretty worn out so we finally broke out the second one.  Every evening Smudge will suddenly start playing with it, so we’ve now dubbed it “Cappy Hour”.  The other night he had both the old and new ones.

Lester was in his usual windowsill position on the weekend.

Chintz Circles Completed

The binding is finished and photos were taken out on the roof garden this afternoon. I am thrilled with how it turned out.  672 pieces in the top that all went together so easily thanks to the Inklingo Orange Peel Deluxe collection printing the stitching lines and matching points on the fabric.  I couldn’t wait till tomorrow to post these photos!

The back.

The final touch was a totally lump-free binding thanks to this tutorial I found on Bonnie Hunter’s website.  I’ve tried doing lump-free binding many times with instructions from books and various sites, with varying degrees of success.  The tutorial on Bonnie’s website made it absolutely foolproof for me.

Now I can’t wait for August 1st when the quilt will be given to my aunt on her 90th birthday.  All that’s left now is the label, which will be added this weekend.

To see more finishes, go to Lit and Laundry and the post here with links to Friday finishes.

The Almost Completed Never-Ending Quilt

The quilting is finished, the binding made and stitched to the front and tacked down on three-quarters of the back, but I just got too tired to complete the binding last night.  I’ll finish it today and we’ll hopefully be able to get a really good photograph out on the roof garden.  These pictures don’t really show the true colours as they were taken quite late at night with the flash on.  The binding fabric was just the right choice.  I like the look of it both on the front and the back.

Monday was nowhere near as hot as it has been the past couple of weeks.  Both cats got in some windowsill time again.  First Lester.

And then Smudge.

The Never-Ending Quilt

… is what this is feeling like although Chintz Circles is almost finished.  Almost.  I think I’ve said that every day for the past 3 days.  But now I can truly see that there’s no more than an hour of quilting left and then the binding which I will hopefully get done tonight.  We went to Sew Sisters on Saturday and after looking at a number of fabrics, I chose the Rouenneries print for the binding.  I think it will frame the quilt perfectly and it goes nicely with the backing.

I’m pleased with how the machine quilting looks and the interlocking circles that show up.  Hopefully I’ll have some pictures to show tomorrow.  The silk batt turned out to be the best possible choice — it is so much easier to manoeuvre and gives a little stitch definition.   The Pfaff IDT has made doing the circles much easier than I anticipated.  That said, how on earth anyone quilts a large quilt on a home machine is beyond me.  After an hour or so of fabric wrestling, my shoulders and arms ache — and this is just a lap quilt.

While we were at Sew Sisters I found a fabulous white on white that isn’t heavily painted on.  So some of that had to come home with me.  I’m always on the hunt for a good white on white as I love using white in my quilts but have learned that anything with a heavily painted-on design causes nothing but trouble as it’s so hard to needle.  Oh, how I wish the manufacturers would produce some white on white prints that had the design woven in rather than painted on.

It was a hot and humid weekend and promises to be a hot and humid week.  Sounds like we’ll be back into the really high humidex readings towards the end of the week.

The cats had some windowsill time on the weekend.  First Lester.

Then Smudge — although he looks a bit cranky in this shot.

Chintz Circles Quilting

A sneak peek of the quilting I’m doing on Chitnz Circles.  The fabric wrestling, aka quilting by machine, will result in interlocking circles following the shapes in the blocks.   I haven’t done a lot of machine quilting, or machine stitching for that matter, but I’m relatively pleased with how this is turning out.  Wrestling with a quilt that has a silk batt is a lot easier than wrestling with one with a cotton batt.  The difference is quite evident.  I’m not finding it anywhere near as hard on my hands as I have when I’ve machine quilted a quilt with a cotton batt.  What’s taking forever is the burying of the threads.  There is some continuous stitching I can do but not a huge amount, which results in a lot of threads to bury.

It’s not going anywhere near as quickly as I had hoped, but I feel like a fair amount was accomplished Monday night.  If I can devote 2 or 3 hours every evening this week, I should be able to finish it by the end of the week.  Then it will be a matter of figuring out what fabric to use for binding.  That has me completely perplexed at the moment.  There are so many different fabrics on the outer edges of the quilt that choosing a fabric for the binding may be a bit more challenging than I had anticipated.

As well as the clematis (thank you everyone for identifying that) shown yesterday, Mr. Q.O. got this shot of a part of our friend’s garden.

Neither cat was very active on Monday.  Lester slept on the pink loveseat.

While Smudge was having a snooze on the pink chair.

Chintz Circles Top Finished

Saturday night I took the last stitch and the piecing of the Chintz Circles top was complete.   The backing is washed, the batting ready.  Issues with my hands started again on Saturday, so pressing of the backing and the final pressing of the top before basting will have to wait a few days.  I’m hoping to get it basted at some point this week and then do the quilting on the weekend.  It will have to be machine quilting as I absolutely need to finish it on time which won’t allow any wiggle room for hand quilting and hand problems.   As soon as the quilting is done and the binding is on, the quilt will be going for a photo shoot.  One of our friends is a professional photographer who has generously agreed to take a couple of shots of Chintz Circles.

Oddly, I felt almost lost for a few minutes when that last stitch was taken and the top was done.  It didn’t last long because I have more than enough projects on the go.  Now it’s a matter of choosing on which one on I want to focus next.   Will it be Summer Picnic Dish, POTC, the Harpsichord Quilt, the Drunkard’s Path baskets, Storm at Sea, the Drunkard’s Path in Rouenneries, one of the clamshell projects?  Who knows!!  I’m still deciding.  Sunday night I spent some time sorting through the pieces I have left from Chintz Circles.  Choosing fabrics for our Spring Circles quilt will be something I will work on slowly throughout the summer.

We had a glorious weekend with lots of lovely warmth and brilliant sun.  The flowers on the roof garden are thriving.

Very early Sunday morning, before the sun even had come up, I could hear a bird singing away.  I think perhaps a mockingbird has taken up residence on the roof garden again this summer.  The morning doves are back.  They haven’t been here for a few years.  I love hearing them.  Still no squirrels, though.

Lester spent a fair bit of time on the windowsill over the weekend.  There’s a lot for him to watch right now, although in this picture he’s looking into the living room.

Smudge, on the other hand, was having a lazy Sunday afternoon nap.

Chintz Circles

It rained, on and off, all weekend so getting a shot of the top outside was impossible.  This is the best we could do inside.  If it’s dry enough later today, we’ll try for a better shot outdoors.  One more row to finish, which will add to the width of it, and it’s done!

We went to  Sew Sisters on Friday to pick up the silk batt.  I was hoping to find a wide backing that would be appropriate — thinking my best bet might be a mottled pink or green.  I was thrilled to find a Robyn Pandolph print in a wide backing.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

During the weekend, I also reorganized partially done projects.  I’m glad I did that as it reminded me of a few things that  need very little to complete them.  Once my aunt’s quilt is done, I now have a better idea of what I want to work on next.  One project in particular will jump to the head of the queue and be ready to quilt in very little time.

I have quite a collection of Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazines, which is my favourite of the quilt magazines.  Storage of them is something I struggle with.  If I put them in a bookcase, they are going to take up at least 2 shelves, probably more like 3.  I love having them available to leaf through so having them handy is rather nice, but I’m trying to come up with a different idea.  Do you keep all of your favourite magazines and, if so, how do you store them?

Smudge was helping me piece one of the Alabama Beauty blocks Sunday night. He’s often on my lap when I’m stitching.

Lester was watching out the window during the weekend.