Tuesday 25 October 2022

Butterflies and Blooms

I have a small business account with Canada Post. During the month of October, those of us with small business accounts were allowed to ship one free parcel within Canada and one to the United States every Tuesday, as long as the parcel met size and weight guidelines. So, I have been madly trying to take advantage of those "freebies". While I only had one UFO destined for the US that would meet the criteria (even if I could make my sister's king size quilt in less than a month, it's highly questionable if it could meet the 2 kg weight limit), I knew I could easily come up with 4 to ship within Canada. But they had to be quilts that I could actually get finished. The weight limit is higher for within Canada, but I still didn't think I could make a whole queen sized quilt that I want to make for my oldest sister, plus three others in less than a month. 
Initially, I thought that the 2 quilts a week were within Canada, plus one to the US, and so I managed to get 2 quilts ready for the first week, High Tea, which was ready long ago, and Waves of Blue. Amazing how quickly you can throw a quilt together when you put your mind to it. But the 2 quilts per week turned out to be one within Canada and one to the US. Well, that at least meant that I didn't have to try to complete 8 quilts instead of just 4 or 5. Since I'd already gotten the shipping addresses for both of these quilts, I didn't want either of the recipients to wait another week before I shipped them, so I shipped both, paying for one and sending one free. 
I had ordered pantographs on September 22, which included the one I needed to quilt the Children of Israel quilt, and they were shipped the next day. They should have arrived on time for me to complete this quilt to take advantage of the free shipping. The quilt top was already completed. Unfortunately, Canada 
Customs decided to hold my pantograph shipment, which ended up being for 2 weeks (even though they're duty free). Since I had no idea how long they would hold my parcel, I had to complete other options. I had already started Colour My Classroom for Sew a Jelly Roll Day, so that came next. Meanwhile, I also squeezed in finishing Sew Fast for my grandson. He had already seen the finished quilt top on a previous visit, so I wanted to complete the quilt before our family Thanksgiving. This one didn't need to be shipped. 
Then I had to determine what would come next. I thought of Tales of Ireland and pulled it out. It's a sampler quilt, so more involved than ones with all or most of the blocks the same. And I had only completed one block. But that wasn't my biggest concern. There was a time in my quilting journey when I wasn't so aware of fabric quality. And the fabric I was planning on using in this quilt definitely didn't have it. There was no way I was going to gift a quilt made with that thin fabric! I could reinforce the quilt top with muslin, if I had a sufficient amount. No time to go to the city to buy some either... I set that aside and figured I'd decide what I would do with it later. 
I also considered this Asian-inspired quilt. 
I even started working on more of the applique. This one had been languishing as a UFO for several years. But I'm really hoping to enter it in one of the fairs next year, so I shouldn't be shipping it off. 
So then I pulled out the quilt kit for Grandpa's Tools. I even had the backing fabric already and it was a fairly simple pattern, so I could do it in a hurry. That took care of week three, and that one went to one of my great nephews. 
I was hoping to send a quilt to my niece in Michigan and that would let me take advantage of at least one free parcel to the US, but I still needed one more parcel within Canada. So I asked my nephew, the father of the great nephew that received Grandpa's Tools, what his daughter's favourite colour was. Purple! So, I started searching for purple fabrics in my stash. If only my stash were more organized... But, thank the Lord, I was able to find fabrics that I thought would work, including this sparkly butterfly fabric that was just a random purchase. 
I also had some white solid, but what was I going to do with all the fabrics I had pulled from my stash. No shortage of quilting books and patterns at my house, but I needed to find an idea quickly and one that could be made in a hurry. 
I had purchased this quilt calender back in 2015 for a Christmas gift for myself. 
After flipping through several books and patterns without success, I decided to give this a try. And I found the Friendship Plume pattern. And it looked like it might work with the fabrics I had collected. I did end up having to piece some of the gold and lavender squares, but I made it work. And the nice thing about it is the pieces are large enough to really showcase the butterfly fabric. 
The toughest part of this pattern was the applique.
These are the largest and most complex appliqe pieces I've done to date. It took me 35 minutes to stitch down one block. And that's not including the amount of time it took to enlarge the pattern (which, by the way, is incorrect in the instructions. It says 400%, which would have yielded a 32" block. It only needed to be 200%), copy it 3 more times, tape it together to make the full pattern, trace 4 copies onto Heat'n'Bond, fuse them to the purple fabric, cut them out, including the centre piece, and fuse them to the background fabric. And there was so much turning the block around and around to stitch the applique down that I ended up having an attack of vertigo. Fortunately, there were only four blocks to complete. 
I grabbed some fabric from my LQS for the backing and binding, in shades of purple, of course, and quilted the quilt using the Butterfly Charm pantograph by Hermione Agee from Urban Elementz. 
It's finished and I shipped it off today to my great niece. 
Meanwhile, my pantograph order arrived, and I will be able to utilize the Dave's Star of  
David pantograph to complete the Children of Israel quilt. Too late to ship it free, but at least it will get done. And then I think maybe I will work on something for myself. 

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