Springtime in Paris Progress

It’s growing. Almost too fast. It is so enjoyable to stitch that I just can’t stop. One thread and all the towers are attached to the centre square. Another couple of threads and the peels are all attached. I think … Continue reading

Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, Fall 2010

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Once again, Amy is hosting the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival.  If you click on the button above, you’ll find thumbnail photos from the participants and, if it’s anything like the spring festival, you’re in for a real treat with lots and lots of lovely quilts to see and stories about their making to read.  All this in the comfort of your own home!

I debated showcasing Chintz Circles again so soon, but couldn’t resist it as my entry in the Quilt Festival.  When the Inklingo Orange Peel Deluxe collection was released, I had played with the various designs and had a lot of fun doing so.  One of my favourite variations was the Alabama Beauty block and, while I had only made one block of it, it stayed in my mind.  Eventually, the lure of that block, particularly with my aunt’s 90th birthday coming up, and making an Alabama Beauty quilt with shabby chic fabrics was irresistible.

My aunt’s favourite colours are pinks and greens and I remember the chintz that was in her home when I was growing up so, as soon as I started making the quilt, I realized Chintz Circles was the perfect name for it.

Karen Dianne was making Alabama Beauty blocks at the same time and had shown some of hers on a design wall.  As soon as I saw that secondary circular pattern emerge, I knew exactly how I wanted to make my aunt’s quilt and I was off to the races.  By mid-April I had hand pieced 6 blocks and saw the first two circles appear.

Choosing the fabrics for each row became more complex as I had to be absolutely perfect with the placement of the fabrics that would emerge as circles.  I developed a routine for doing that as I finished a row and would sort the fabrics for each block into separate envelopes.  During the piecing, I was often thinking about the rousing games of double solitaire I used to play with my aunt at the cottage during the evenings.  We would be laughing so loudly that my mother, who was invariably trying to listen to a baseball game on the radio, would leave and  go listen to the baseball game out on the porch.  I learned then that long nails, while looking good, were also a great deterrent to an opponent in double solitaire as I developed strategies to avoid getting stabbed by my aunt’s perfectly manicured nails as we competed to be the first to put a card up.

By April 21st, a total of 16 blocks had been pieced together and joined and 9 complete circles had appeared.

As the quilt top grew, it took longer to add more rows and see more circles appear but by May 18, there were 25 blocks joined and 16 circles had made their appearance.

I was then in the home stretch and on June 21 a total of 42 blocks were joined, 30 circles had appeared and the hand piecing of the quilt top was complete.

The backing fabric was found, the quilt was basted and the machine quilting began. On July 20, the quilting was finished, the binding tacked down and this photo was taken very shortly after the last stitch was taken to attach the label.

August 1 was my aunt’s 90th birthday.  That morning I had washed and dried the quilt and it had that wonderful crinkly look that quilts get after being washed and dried.  Then came the best part — when she opened the gift and saw her quilt.  She still has those beautifully manicured nails I so remember from our double solitaire games!

Everything about making Chintz Circles was an absolute joy.  Choosing the fabrics, making the blocks and joining them together, quilting it, even working the thread ends in was fun as I often found myself reflecting on some of the marvelous memories I have of the time I have spent with my aunt over the years.   I still find that I quietly laugh to myself when I remember those double solitaire games and the fun we had.

There is no doubt I would have not made this quilt were it not for Linda Franz‘ brilliant invention of Inklingo. Having perfect shapes with stitching lines and matching points turned what may look like a difficult block to piece into something that was an absolute joy to stitch and blocks that went together perfectly every time.

Chintz Circles — Please Vote!

I entered Chintz Circles at Quilt Gallery’s weekly contest as this week the theme is scrappy.  There are some beautiful quilts in this week’s contest which you can view here — the same post where you can vote for your favourite.

The photo we took on the roof garden the day I finished Chintz Circles is found here and the post about it being given to my aunt on her 90th birthday is found here.

Smudge isn’t too interested.  He’d rather have a snooze as the grey chilly days of fall seem to be upon us.

Lester also seems to have found himself a nice cozy spot for a nap.

A Butterfly Block or a Dragonfly or?

When I saw Karen Dianne’s Alabama Beauty blocks, I saw butterflies.  I had to try playing with a bright print for the wings and a black for the body.  Mr. Q.O. thinks this looks more like a dragonfly while I’m thinking it’s a butterfly.  It was one of those blocks I had to make just to see how it would turn out.

The back:

I’m not sure how many more butterflies/dragonflies I’ll make, but I think probably at least enough to make a table topper.  It makes me laugh as I had decided earlier on the long weekend that I was going to limit myself to working on 4 or 5 projects for a few weeks and not start anything else.  Clearly I have limited no self-control when it comes to trying out ideas.

Our Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful with great weather, good food and lots of time to just relax.  We didn’t go for the standard Thanksgiving weekend drive to look at the foliage and, as very little has turned yet around here, have only a picture of one of the roses from the front garden to show.  Much as I do admire the fall colours, I rather like the idea that we still have roses blooming at this time of the year.

Smudge spent most of the time the turkey was cooking on Monday in the kitchen. The meowing wasn’t constant, thankfully.   But any time either of us walked into the kitchen he was right there, looking up ever so hopefully that there might be something forthcoming.  Once the turkey was finished, both he and Lester were in the kitchen waiting for their portions.  This was Smudge after his turkey treat.

Earlier in the weekend I was rummaging about in the stationery cupboard looking for something.  I left the door open for a moment, turned my back and the next thing I knew Lester was in there.  We captured this shot as he started to come out after causing a small avalanche of equipment and paper.

Fabric on Friday

Last weekend when we were at Sew Sisters, I found some great fabrics in the remnants bin to add to the shabby chic collection for the Alabama Beauty quilt I plan to make for us.  Finding remnants like these is perfect for Chintz Circles and other quilts.  These are all around a quarter of a  yard — just right for the scrap quilts I love to make.  While I have a few — some — well, okay, a lot of other things on the go, making that Alabama Beauty block and a quilt like Chintz Circles for us is definitely high up on the list.  I enjoyed everything about making it, even the fabric wrestling aka machine quilting.   Before I begin it, Pink Ice and Clams on the Half Shell will be completed, some more pieces printed for the Summer Picnic Dish quilt and, knowing me, who knows what else will be started.

The label for my aunt’s quilt will be done this weekend.  I’ve decided to make a block using shapes from the Orange Peel Deluxe collection, so some more curved stitching, and use a few of the fabrics that I used in the top.

I’ve added the post about Chintz Circles to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry.  It has been ages since I’ve had a finish and couldn’t resist.  There’s a list of those with finishes for Friday on this post — definitely worth going and taking a look and, who knows, you may just find a new-to-you blog that you really enjoy.

For some reason, my wrists and hands have really started to hurt again and, as I type this, my right wrist is swollen.  Because of the discomfort involved with typing, I’ve not been great about responding to comments the past couple of days, but hope to get all caught up over the weekend.  I have a feeling it was doing the binding that started this as applique does tend to bother my hands.  I think next time I’m stitching down binding I’ll do it in stages rather than all at once and see if that helps.

Thursday was a very cloudy day.  I think we’re going to get rain at some point today.  Thursday Smudge enjoyed some windowsill time.

While Lester was lounging in the pink chair.

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.


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.

Final Row Started

Row 6 is attached, the first block of the final row is done and the pieces are ready to stitch for the remaining 6 blocks.   The block hasn’t been pressed yet as I wait until all the blocks for a row are completed before pressing.   It was quite windy on Thursday so there was no chance of getting a photo of the top as it now is on the roof garden.  Hopefully that will be accomplished this weekend. I’m thinking of renaming the quilt Chintz Beauties.

The weekend is going to be busy with errands and doing some rearranging.  Bookshelves need straightening up and some furniture rearrangement may be in the plans.

Lester doesn’t much care as long as he has a soft spot to curl up.

While Smudge is only interested in whether it’s treat time.