Monday, September 2, 2019

Summertime Preserves

Summer has turned to fall overnight, but I'm not quite ready for the change of seasons. There are too many quintessential summertime pleasures I missed out on. What’s summer, after all, if you haven’t felt the sun on your face, quenched a thirst with ice-cold lemonade, or eaten your fill of watermelon, sweet corn, or home-grown tomatoes?

I tried to capture the essence of summer in this little quilt. Here's my recipe:

   Summertime Preserves
  • Cut ripe berry reds and tart lemon yellows into bitesize squares.
  • Add fresh from the garden calicoes and crisp gingham checks.
  • Sweeten with a pinch of polka dots.
  • Embroider to taste. 
  • Toss and sew. 
  • Let the juices flow! 
  • Quilt with sparkling rays of sun.
  • Serve on a cloth of picnic plaid, spread out in a field full of daisies.
  • Enjoy! 

My friend Ruth finished the quilt with tiny stitches in yellow Perle cotton. I love the way they catch the light!

She crosshatched through the 2" squares...

and quilted cables in the daisy print border.

Look, there's more strawberry goodness on the back!

I'm so pleased with the way this turned out! It's sweet, nostalgic, and should satisfy my cravings for summer, all year 'round.

Strawberry Preserves
15"x 17"

*Read the original post here.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Scenes of Summer

How was your summer? Mine was filled with extraordinary moments shared with extraordinary friends...

Like Wanda Hanson of Exuberant Color who surprised me with this remarkable gift -- one of her signature batik colorwash quilts. Read more about it here

It hangs nearby so I can enjoy it every day!

My quilting friends bring "show and tell" whenever they visit. They inspire me to keep "thinking quilts" even though I can't make them anymore.

Foody friends shared the bounty of their gardens and kitchens: fresh-picked cherry tomatoes and basil, delicious peach cobbler, and the best blueberry pie I've ever tasted!

Local troubadour, Bill Glaysher, entertained me with song one fine afternoon.

Which enabling friend helped make this fabric purchase? The colors and prints were irresistible.

I asked a bookish friend to read aloud to me. Pure bliss! 

My friend, Linda, hosted a beautiful bridal shower for her daughter and son-in-law-to-be. What lured me out on a 97-degree day was the promise of mango mimosas and eight different kinds of cake!

By summer’s end, my friends had me convinced that I’m worthy of love, respect, and the occasional niceties of life. That's the best gift of all!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Spring At Last!

What a welcome sight -- crocuses blanketing the landscape like a colorful patchwork quilt!

I love the way their hardy little blooms spread with abandon through the grass.

If you're ever at a loss for a color scheme, just look to nature for inspiration!

I'll bet that's just what the maker of this 1940s Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt did. Soft colors dance across a bed of white, like crocuses poking through early spring snows. 

Soft and lightweight from years of use, it's the perfect cover for cool spring nights.

Small, even stitches outline the triangles in each pieced blocks... 

while a simple teacup pattern fills the muslin squares. 

I'm not usually a fan of pastel quilts, but when the weather warms up and flowers begin to bloom, I can't help but be drawn to them. 

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Midwinter Blues

With each passing year, I become more grateful for my February birthday. Having something to celebrate "in the bleak midwinter" helps keep the blues at bay. This year, there were so many birthday cards, phone calls, and visitors, I barely had time to feel glum! 

My most eagerly anticipated gift is always a small quilt from Barb. The moment I opened this one, I knew it was special!

It's called “Midwinter Blues,” and was designed by Lori DeJarnatt of Humble Quilts for her 2014 blog sew-along. If you’d like to make your own, instructions are still available at the following links: Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Finale.

Barb used exquisite fabrics, didn't she? The strong contrast between her deep, saturated blues and bright cheddar prints makes the quilt sing!

I love the juxtaposition of curved quilting designs on angular patchwork. Barb explains how to stitch "teacup" quilting here.

On the back is a patriotic print, "E Pluribus Unum," meaning "out of many, one."

The secret to this quilt is written on the label. Barb made it as a gift for our dear friend, Mary. I'm honored and humbled that Barb chose to pass this precious keepsake on to me!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!

Happy holidays everyone! I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a brand new year.

For those of you living outside the purple zone on the weather map, it’s bitterly cold here, with single-digit temperatures and double-digit below zero wind chills. That’s breath-taking cold. Bone-chilling cold. FROSTBITE COLD! Jim has kept his "arctic" expeditions to a minimum, braving the elements only to trek down the driveway for mail or to shovel snow. Each time he opens the storm door, it whines in icy protest as if to ask, “Are you sure you want to venture out today?” 

I'm keeping warm under a cozy new quilt that my friend, Mary Conley, gave me for Christmas. "The blocks might look familiar," she whispered, as she placed it in my lap. Indeed they did! They were red and green nine patches I'd abandoned years before when I first started sorting my life into projects worth the energy to complete and those that were not. 

Apparently, Mary saw more potential in my castoffs than I did. She saved them, then stitched them together almost 20 years later, returning them to me as this wonderful finished quilt! 

I like how she set the blocks on point with homespun plaid as the alternate fabric. This layout adds visual interest, particularly where the setting triangles (cut on bias) meet the border (cut on straight of grain). 

Her choice of a swirling, blustery, wind-like quilting design couldn't be more appropriate!

Mary, I'll think of you whenever I use "our" quilt, which here in the purple zone will be just about every night

Friday, July 21, 2017

Will Strip for Fabric!

Hi everyone. Hope you're keeping cool this summer. I get so lethargic and irksome in this heat. Most days, it’s hard for me to do much more than nap! 

My Piecemaker friends shared photos of quilts they made from our Spider Web fabric exchange
 (previous post). It’s fun to see each quilter's interpretation of the classic string-pieced pattern. Enjoy! 

Oh, and here’s our friend, Patt, who dressed as a stripper, because... how else would you dress for a "strip" swap?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hey, Macarena!

It’s been a while since I posted a bona fide, start to finish, pieced with my own two hands kind of quilt. I made this Spider Web in a sew-along with my Elmhurst Piecemaker friends back in 

Our theme was “pastel.” To ensure everyone had a varied assortment of fabrics to work with, each participant contributed six yards-worth of pastels, precut into strips, to share with the group.

On swap day, the tables overflowed with colorful strips! We paraded around the room to the festive rhythm of “Macarena,” snatching a strip from each table we passed. With all the laughter and fabric flying, we looked like a crazy Conga Line or a game of Musical Chairs. ”Hey, Macarena!”

Some people chose randomly; others had a color scheme in mind. For my quilt, I selected 1930s-style colors and prints. 

After sorting and sewing strips together, I used this 45 Degree Kaleidoscope Wedge Ruler (directions included) to cut the eight segments needed for each block. 

Coordinating the placement of colors within blocks was lots of fun... 

but, I liked the scrappiness of mixing random colors just as much.

Nothing went to waste. Leftover strips found their way into my scrappy border.

Spider Web 
84" x 100"
Machine quilting by Stover Quality Quilting.