Monday 7 November 2022

Children of Israel


Several years ago, I decided to make a quilt for some Jewish friends. So, I purchased the blue dreidel fabric and the purple menorah fabric, plus the accent fabrics chosen to coordinate with colours found in the menorah fabric. And then, as usual, other projects superseded this one. 
I finally got around to working on it earlier this year. Unfortunately, not only had I used the backing fabric I had selected in another project (Ingrid's Tulips), but the majority of the fabric for this quilt was of an inferior quality. The blue dreidel fabric and all of the coordinating fabrics were quite thin. Only the purple menorah fabric was good quality fabric. So disappointing! Obviously, I purchased these fabrics before I became more knowledgeable and discriminating about fabric quality. And then I was left in a quandary of what to do. Finding Jewish or Hanukkah themed fabric is not easy. And replacing the four tonal fabrics that coordinated so well with the purple fabric would be even more difficult. I then made a decision based on this video by Jamie Wallen. 
While he is speaking specifically about quilting vintage and English paper pieced (EPP) quilts, I thought it was worth a try to reinforce the quilt top with muslin. That way, there would be two layers of fabric on top and hopefully, extend the life of the quilt. 
The block I had chosen was the Children of Israel, which came from one of my many books of quilt blocks. I don't remember which one, but it's easy enough to find the pattern online if you're really interested. 
I completed the quilt top earlier this year, and then it just sat there. It wasn't the matter of still needing a backing fabric, because that would be easy enough to pick up. And I did. But finding the pantograph that I wanted was another matter. Initially, I wanted Judaica as it was the only Jewish-themed pantograph that I could find. I had just recently ordered a batch of pantographs from Urban Elementz during their spring 25% off sale, so wasn't planning on placing another order from them until the next sale. In order to justify the shipping and the exchange rate, I wait until the sales and order several pantographs at once. So, I looked to see if I could find a Canadian vendor who sold this pantograph. Nothing. I actually approached one vendor to ask if they would order it in for me. They responded that they didn't normally do that, and that when they ordered from Urban Elementz, they had to order a minimum of 3 of each pantograph. So, they would expect me to purchase all three. I understand this because a pantograph like Judaica would have a very limited market, and so they could be stuck with 2 pantographs that they could not sell if they only sold the one to me. Next I asked in a Canadian quilters' group on Facebook. Someone offered to order it in to their store for me and that they were placing an order soon. And then I waited and when I didn't hear back from them, I contacted them again and they just said that it sometimes takes a long time for them to get their orders. And then I waited some more, but never heard again. I'm assuming that they made the decision not to order them in because they didn't want to buy 3 of them, and be stuck with 2 of them. But it would have been nice if they had informed me of this decision.
Meanwhile, I found a different Jewish-themed pantograph on the Urban Elementz website that I liked much better, Dave's Star of David.
And I was honestly glad that I had not been able to purchase Judaica. But again, I couldn't find Dave's Star of David anywhere in Canada. I considered the self print option, but I really don't like doing that. Instead of a nice already printed and rolled pantograph, I'm left printing out multiple papers, trimming and taping them together. But then it was time for Urban Elementz to have it's fall sale, and I placed my order. 
Unfortunately, Canada Customs held my parcel for 2 weeks, further delaying the finishing of this quilt. But the parcel finally arrived and I was able to proceed.
I approached this pantograph with a little bit of trepidation. With the detail in the stars of David and the dreidels, I thought it would be quite labour-intensive. But it was actually a pleasure to stitch out. The olive branches (at least I think they are olive branches) were fairly simple to stitch out, and there was sufficient meandering between the motifs that it didn't end up being anywhere near as labourious as I had feared. Now the quilt is finished and on its way to the recipients.
This has turned into one of my favourite quilts. I like setting blocks on point and I love the bright colours. That green, especially, just makes my heart sing. 
Meanwhile, I've been working on a knitting project with Red Heart Super Saver Stripe in the Bright Stripes colourway. I couldn't help but notice how well it coordinates with this quilt.

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Star of Bethlehem


A few years ago, one of my nieces asked for a Christmas quilt. I had found a jelly roll lone star quilt pattern online and saved it for future use. (I can no longer find it online, so I can't link to it). Back when Craftsy/Bluprint was still selling fabric, I purchased this jelly roll and coordinating fabric. The pattern didn't make a quilt as big as I wanted, so I included enough fabric to add the border.
The pattern was kind of complicated, especially since the designer was using a totally different jelly roll from mine. So I had to choose which colour in my jelly roll would best coordinate in which places. If the pattern had actually given a "map" of where each colour would end up in the design, I might have made a different choice or two. As it was, all I knew was that I was sewing offset jelly roll strips together in sets and then cutting diamonds from them, then assembling them into bigger diamonds, and so on. Once I'd sewn the strips together and cut the diamonds out, it was really too late to make changes. But it wasn't until then that I realized I would have liked to. But I wasn't about to start ripping out bias seams... And I'm still very happy with the results.
Anyway, I pulled this out to work on as my "Christmas in July" project. I got the whole quilt top done, but figured I should do some custom quilting on this quilt, with all of that negative space. So, I had to sit on that idea for a while. 
I tried asking in an online longarm group for ideas, and got some good ones. But I had to get my courage up to actually do it. I'm not a custom quilter. I'm a panto quilter and pantographs are my comfort zone. And since I could mail this quilt for free on a Tuesday in October (see my previous post, Butterflies and Blooms), it needed to be finished before the last Tuesday in the month. And I didn't want to rush if I was going to attempt custom quilting. So, yes, I used a pantograph. Initially, I was going to use a star pantograph, but when I flipped to the "Sky" section in my topical index of pantographs, Aurora was the first one in the list. And when I looked at that pantograph, I knew it was perfect. 
And I don't regret not doing custom quilting. Someday, maybe when I'm caught up on all the family quilts, and can just play around, I will do some custom quilting. But for now, I'll mostly stick with pantographs.