Sunday 21 April 2019

Irene's Rubies

This is my first signature quilt. While I was working as Director of Care in a nursing home, my senior nurse retired. I wanted to make her a signature quilt and have all of the staff members sign it. However, I lost that job - I was going to say "unfortunately," but the only things unfortunate about it were a) my staff were left without effective leadership that genuinely cared about them and b) I didn't get this quilt made before I left. So, aside from my signature, it will be up to the recipient to get the signatures if she so desires. It's an attractive quilt even without the signatures.
Before she retired, I asked her what her favourite colour is: red. So I chose the Boundless Ruby Rue fabric from Bluprint (Craftsy).  
This was my very first signature quilt, so I googled to find ideas. I had the signature block from my Canada 150 Sampler quilt,
but I didn't want such big blocks. There were 70-80 staff members that needed to sign, and this is a 10" block. I did not intend to make a queen-sized quilt. In my search, I found the directions for making the basic signature block I used here, and the layout here
I bought a warm white solid for the signature part and the cornerstones, and cut 2½" squares from from jelly roll strips for the corners.
I have to admit that I really like the looks of this layout. It will hold 100 signatures and measures 36" square (finished size), so it could be finished this size and used as a wallhanging. However, I wanted a throw-sized quilt, so determined to add a border of 12" quilt blocks.
By this time I had made up my mind to call this quilt Irene's Rubies. Irene is the recipient and the fabric is Ruby Rue. Meanwhile I was trying to determine what block to use and I remembered that in the book Lazy and Loving It (companion book for the Lazy Angle ruler), was at least one gemstone block, Sapphires, that might work. But there are still boxes, fabric, books, etc. piled everywhere in my craft studio and I couldn't find that book. I found a picture of it online, so I at least knew what it looked like and that I was looking for a blue book. But I could not find that blue book on my shelf. Until I prayed about it. And there it was on the shelf where I was sure I had checked any blue book on that shelf already! Thank the Lord. He does care about little things like quilt books. And not only was there a Sapphires block and a Diamonds block, but also a Rubies block. 
It is a rather labour-intensive block and between these blocks and the signature blocks, there was a lot of fabric wastage. So the Lazy Angle will not be one of my favourite rulers, but it's nowhere near as bad as the Bias Stripper or the Square in a Square. And now I have completed one quilt using the Lazy Angle ruler (remember I have a goal to make at least one quilt using each ruler I own).
I decided to add a narrow border out of the same fabric as the sashing in the signature section to give it a more cohesive look. 
In keeping with the red theme, I used the Moulin Rouge pantograph by Patricia E. Ritter from Urban Elementz, "rouge" being the French word for "red," and quilted it in a red Glide thread. This is a beautiful pantograph and not too difficult.
I finally put my clothesline up to get a picture of the full quilt. Unfortunately, the wind was strong and I had to have help holding the quilt in place. Allan (my ex-husband, friend and handyman) happened to show up while I was struggling to get the picture, so those are his fingers you see at the top left corner and side of the quilt. Thanks Allan, I couldn't have done it without you. 😊
Now I have to find a box for shipping it to Irene. I'm having a problem with locating boxes of the right sizes for shipping quilts. I may have to buy some from Staples.

Friday 19 April 2019


I find it rather amusing that most of the fabric pre-cuts have dessert names: layer cakes, jelly rolls, honey buns. Was a bundle of 6" fabric strips ever called something "sweet"? Until I got the book I had personally never tried 6" strips. I got this book as part of the Stuff Your Stocking event from Sew Sisters a couple of years ago. Initially I thought that these precuts would be as useful as jelly rolls and layer cakes. Wrong! Once I perused the patterns, I realized that I would be cutting measurements like 5⅜", 2½", 4¼", thus wasting fabric. I hate wasting fabric. Therefore, I'm really not sure what practical use 6" strips are over yardage. However, as you know my goal is to make at least one project from each craft book I own. And Craftsy/Bluprint had the Moon Shadow colourway of the Boundless Botanical fabric precuts on sale. I had been admiring this particular colourway for a while. Plus, I needed another baby quilt and I didn't know the gender of the baby when I purchased the fabric. This is a relatively neutral colourway that would work well for either gender. 
This pattern is called Monarch Madness. I'm not sure if that's monarch, as in the butterfly or as in the ruler. Regardless, I didn't intend to keep that name and combined Moon Shadow with Monarch Madness, and came up with lunacy, which is madness associated with the moon. However, that really wasn't a satisfactory name for a baby's quilt. Looking up the definition of lunacy online, I found:
The word derives from lunaticus meaning "of the moon" or "moonstruck".
So, Moonstruck it became, which I think is a much more appropriate name. 
I used the Zoidberg Feathers pantograph by Barbara Becker from Urban Elementz to quilt it, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.
If I find any more 6" strips for a really good price, I might try out more patterns in this book. They are quite attractive and I don't mind wasting fabric quite so much as long as I didn't pay through the nose for it.

Wintry Woods

Evidently, this colour is a photographic challenge, as I had to apply a filter to get it to look more like it does in real life. It's still a little too brownish. The fabric in this quilt actually started out as a QAL (quilt-a-long) or a BOM (block of the month), not sure which and it doesn't really matter. I really liked the look of these two fabrics together and planned on making it for my nephew Justin as his favourite colour is green. However, as the QAL progressed, I was not liking all of the blocks and didn't feel that they necessarily suited this fabric.
I decided to try substituting other blocks for the ones I didn't like, but then I started having to use additional fabrics. (Centre block in the above photo is made with a third fabric). And I didn't like the look as well. I decided that I just wanted to use these two fabrics, and it's not easy finding quilt blocks or even a whole quilt that uses just two fabrics. And I'm not talking two fabrics and a background fabric. I'm talking just two fabrics. I searched the internet and was able to find this Black Beauty Quilt pattern from Ludlow Quilt and Sew. (Rose Smith, the owner of Ludlow Quilt and Sew, and I became online quilting friends through a quilting group on Google+. Not sure why Google killed Google+. I really liked it). But back to the quilt pattern - unfortunately, it was only for a 32" quilt, and I wanted a 60" quilt. So, I got out my graph paper (not yet being able to afford EQ8) and added to the design so that it would finish out at the desired size. 
I'm really thankful for graph paper because I've put it to good use in my quilt-making. 
While the quilt itself was not a challenging design, I determined to keep all of the trees upright, and that was the challenging part. And I think I accomplished it. 
I started with a fussy-cut centre, to highlight the deer silhouette. 
Unfortunately, once I quilted it, the deer was not as obvious. 
I think I finished the quilt top back in 2017 and decided on the Pine Bough pantograph by Laura Estes for Urban Elementz. 
As this pantograph is quite detailed, involving lots of points, I knew it would be rather labour-intensive and time consuming, so I was reluctant to pay to quilt it on the longarm.
And then it receded into my pile of UFOs to be retrieved when I purchased my Amara. Initially, I wasn't all that happy with this pantograph, thinking that the pine needles just look like "scribbling." And, as I pointed out, it sort of obliterated the deer in the centre. However, upon reflection, I do find it an attractive design and suitable to the quilt fabric. I likely would have chosen a different colour thread if I had to do it over again. I chose a darker green that blended well with the dark fabric, but it detracted from the scenic fabric. In hindsight, I would have used a thread that blended better with the scenic fabric. Live and learn.
Awaiting Binding
This is my first totally monochromatic quilt. Yes, I have done other quilts with mostly or all one colour with a background colour, but never totally one colour. And I really like it. I find it really peaceful, especially the scenic fabric. It reminds me of the Robert Frost poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. I know there are some people who insist that the poet is expressing suicidal ideation in this poem and there must be some deep hidden meaning, but I think that's malarkey. I suppose it's because I can actually relate to the sentiments that I feel are expressed. I love the woods and the look of those big flakes of snow drifting peacefully down. And I can understand the desire to stop and enjoy the beauty while taking a breather from the stresses of everyday life. And that's what I think this quilt expresses. And I hope my nephew can see that, too.

I still have all of the original quilt blocks from the QAL somewhere in my stash, that I will have to determine what I'm going to do with. But, as I have yet to determine a recipient, they can wait.