Thursday 6 August 2020

New Theme Announcement

I hope everybody enjoyed this reveal as much as I did. It was really interesting to see the inspiration packages and prompts that everyone sent and to discover how they were used to create such an exciting collection of quilts. For the next quarter, we are back to our list.

The remaining themes are...

  1. The Sea
  2. Memories
  3. A quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
  4. Emotions feelings
  5. Opposites attract
  6. Colour theory
... and Mr Random Generator has chosen

So our next theme, due on November 1st, is number 1 'The Sea'.

I feel the sea is something that turns up in lots of our quilts quite regularly so I am looking forward to seeing an entire set of sea themed quilts.

Happy Sewing!

Janine :)

Saturday 1 August 2020

If Life Gives You Lemons

Hello friends!

I hope you are doing well. This challenge was very fun to make. My parter was Catherine and she mentioned that the inspiration for my piece would be lemons 🍋. I often share photos of my garden and you know I live in California so lemons a featured often since they are so abundant.
When it came to decide how to create my piece I remember seeing this piece of fabric in my stash that featured lemons and the colors were so vibrant and happy. It was a very small piece of fabric and I don’t know the designer or anything about it. I recently inherited an abundant lot of fabric and scraps from a friend’s mom who was downsizing her sewing room because she was moving to a smaller house and closing down her handmade apron business. Thus all of the fabrics are so varied and interesting.
I made the offset flying geese to showcase the print and also trying to make do with the small amount of fabric I had. I really like the simplicity and the vibrancy of the colors. I think I’ll make a spot in my kitchen for it.
Yesterday I received in the mail a package from Catherine and it contained the most beautiful fabric from Liberty London and it has lemons on it. While I didn’t get to use the fabric she sent me for this piece I can’t wait to make something with it. It is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you Catherine .


Love Is Like a Butterfly

Greetings! This is my first post as a member of your group. Thank you for allowing me to join in the fun. I love a good challenge! My quilt was inspired by the Dolly Parton song, "Love Is Like a Butterfly," and given to me by Catherine.

With everything going on in the world right now, and particularly in the USA, my own country, I was taken back to a song by Jackie DeShannon, popular during the 1960's, entitled, "What the World Needs Now." The lyrics continue, "what the world needs now is love sweet love," and so I my quilt was inspired by the lyrics from both songs. I used a stained glass technique to create the butterfly.

The butterfly sits upon a flower that is a stylized peace symbol, another throwback to the 60's era.

The flower stem has heart-shaped leaves. 

The lyrics from the song are free-motion quilted in my own handwriting.

The applique top-stitching serves as quilting. Here's how it looks from the back.

And here are the lyrics to Dolly Parton's song.

I hope you like this first submission. I'm looking forward to seeing all of yours.

Largs Graffiti Moon on August 1st

How to Make an Inspired Quilt in Eight Easy Steps

1. Receive inspirational fabric scraps from the lovely Fiona. Discover from the note she sends that she lives in Largs, in Scotland. Further discover the scraps are Liberty of London lawn, Harris Tweed wool, and a length of lace that may or may not have been made by her grandmother around 1890. Resolve to make something worthy of said scraps and lace. Go have some wine.

2. Lay fabric on guest bed and stare at it a lot when the kitten isn't throwing it on the floor or carrying it off somewhere. Think to yourself that Liberty stuff reminds you of the groovy paintings of 60s-70s artist Peter Max. Google Peter Max and study his work.

3. On a whim, google Largs. Ponder the waterfront with the seawall, shops, church, and bay. Discover the graffiti capital of Largs aka Kelburn Castle. 

4. On another whim, google Scottish Artists. Discover the enchanting work of Ritchie Collins. 


5. Mull. Mull. Mull some more. Discover the Paul McCartney song Mull of Kintyre (featuring bagpipes) is on repeat in your brain. Bagpipes on repeat. That's just wonderful. Have more wine.

6. Lay out first, second, third iteration of the quilt. Think, "Eh..." Cover layout with cardboard anyway so kitten leaves it alone. Kitten doesn't leave it alone. On second night put a chair on top of the cardboard. Listen to kitten yell all night in frustrated protest. Decide against getting out of bed to have some wine.

7. Finally get a vision at 3 AM one night to graffiti the Largs waterfront! Lay out vision. Resolve to use every last piece of gifted scraps, along with added stuff from stash. Make quilt under close supervision of kitten. And...

8. Ta-dah! Present "Largs Graffiti Moon" on August 1st.

Choose Joy

My Quilt for this quarter is called "Choose Joy". My inspiration for this reveal came in a wonderful package from Ruth, which arrived when we were in full lockdown and covid deaths were doubling every three days. She also sent a lovely note saying she was trying to choose joy over stress. It wasn't an easy time to be joyful but I decided my title straightaway and started making a proper effort to choose joy every day 

The quilt includes a selection of joyful things including Ruth's parcel, mail in general, the lighthouse, which has given me a project to ponder about and work on and, in the postmark, the date of the birth of my first grandchild last Friday. Also, of course the automata dog.

I seem to be having a variety of technical issues this morning, including progress photos trapped on my camera, which I hoped would be sorted by overnight charging, and blogger doing funny I will make a post with more detail later or tomorrow on my blog and, if I can enlist assistance, maybe even a video of the dog running...

In the meantime I would like to say a big thank you to Ruth and I am looking forward to seeing everyone's quilts for this reveal :)

Best Kept Secrets

My prompt from Carol for this round was the book Best Kept Secrets of Ireland which Carol bought and sent to me, but we think has been a victim of Covid post, probably sitting forgotten in a warehouse somewhere keeping its secrests all to itself. 
Scraps added improv style to just have a play and see what happens

I've been pondering and pondering the phrase best kept secrets and what kept popping into my head is Barry's tea (our national Irish drink isn't Guiness but a good strong cup of black tea with milk!).  In lieu of the book Carol prompted me to think of my favourite place.

That's a tough one.  My favourite places are where we go walking the dogs.  We have a few spots about the place.  I live in Limerick, on the Shannon so we have miles and miles of riverbank.  We are just over an hours drive to the Atlantic and have many more miles of the beach and cliff walks and my favourite beach to walk the dogs in the summer is Doughmore beach in Doonbeg or Beal Beach near Ballybunion.
Free motion quilting and fancy stitches crazy piecing style
In the end, I kept coming back to my favourite place from childhood, Curragh Chase Estate which is part of our National Forestry Service Coillte (pronounced queel-cha).  We used to cycle the 12 miles there when we were kids or be driven out for a days rambling on special occasions.  We used to use an old seat belt and swing from a huge tree, fighting for light with the biggest weeping willow I've ever seen. 

Theres a big grey granite stone house which burned down twice, a man made lake and bridges with swans, a wishing chair and a pet cemetry which I always loved. 

It was the home of the deVere family before it was handed over to the state.  Aubrey deVere was a poet and I always wonder what it must have felt like to open the door in the morning, wander down the grey steps into cultivated greenery surrounded by woodland and feel blessed to own all of that. A very different kind of life to most people.
Must have been just horrific watching the main house go up in flames.

Still, to this day, I love to walk with the dogs along the trails under the trees especially when its raining (which is quite a bit!).  You get that smell of green and feeling of dampness from the ferns and the soft rustle of the wind.   Defintely my favourite place to just be.

Cut up and moved about to fit this framing mat.  Hints of memories peeking through.

An Imaginary Voyage of Discovery in the South Pacific

My partner, Janine, sent me this wonderful compass as my inspiration piece for this quarter's quilt.  I was quite overwhelmed to receive it.  

Knowing that all my fabric was, at the time, in my studio where I couldn't get it during lockdown Janine also very kindly and generously sent me some fabrics, including the marvellous piece of map which went into the quilt.

The compass immediately set me thinking about great endeavours.   I love the stories of Scott and Shackleton, and sea-going adventures, like Darwin's on the Beagle.   A couple of years back, we visited the Discovery in Dundee, and I was really taken with the laboratory and its portholes.  

Then, having a particular interest in plants and horticulture, I read up about some of the great plant hunters who travelled the world bringing back new (to us) species from round the world.  In my head all these things finally came together in this quilt, combining science and adventure.

The story goes...

It is sometime in the 1800s.  The occupant of this cabin, the Scientific Officer of HMS Persevere (Leith), has gone on deck to watch as the tiny South Sea island they have just visited recedes out of view as they head further south.  On his bench are some shells he picked up there, and a piece of Ipomea pes-caprae - named Goat's foot morning glory because of the shape of the leaves - which grows on beaches throughout the world.  Its seeds are dispersed in salt water.  It is not a great discovery as it is already well known but it was beautiful to see and he may paint it later - he is a competent botanical artist.  A Monarch butterfly has found its way on board and will hopefully evade the killing bottle.    The Scientific Officer has been delighted in the last month to receive a letter from his wife, enclosing a studio portrait of his three little girls who he hasn't seen for a year.  He hopes to find more letters from home next time they reach a port visited by packet ships.    He misses his family very much, but until then he will be busy examining rocks and barnacles under his travelling microscope (currently in its box away from the salt air), and writing notes for posterity about beetles of the South Pacific.

Porthole view

Monarch butterfly

A family picture

A real, and a stitched shell

I had a lot of fun making this quilt and imagining the life of its subject has been a hugely therapeutic bit of escapism. Thank you so much Janine for such a lovely prompt!

[Note: Leith is part of Edinburgh where I live, and contains a large port.  The motto of Leith is 'Persevere' - a good motto for the times!  The little Victorian girls in the photograph are actually my great grandmother and her sisters in the 1800s.  The butterfly is a tribute to my grandfather, an entomologist.  I still plan to use a picture of my other great-grandmother as a stand-in for the Scientific Officer's wife, but she is currently in a box somewhere at the back of the attic!  The woman of this era who were not fortunate enough to be adventurers themselves deserve a lot of sympathy and recognition.]

Inspired Challenge

It was challenging to figure out how to use my inspiration fabric, but in the end, I'm very happy with my two projects that came from the fabric given to me by Martha. However, I was so busy thinking and then working on the project, I forgot to take a photo of the inspiration piece before I cut it up. It is present in each project, so you still get to see it.

The fabric sent to me was a little piece of approximately 7" square of text fabric. I taped it to my wall and thought about it for awhile. To begin with, I decided to choose a phrase from the fabric and play with that a bit.

Here's the phrase I chose:

I'm not really sure why "twirling in circles" appealed to me, other than that it reminded me of a line from the movie, You've Got Mail. The scene where Meg Ryan (as Kathleen) talks about the photo of her as a little girl and her mother where they are twirling.

I thought I needed to add a little more challenge to that phrase, so I decided that all my fabric I used had to have circles in the design. The only fabric that had a polka dot design was the background fabric. The only non-circle fabric used was the inspiration fabric, which you can see here:

Of course, I had to use a circle design, so I decided on some curved piecing. I had been wanting to play with the new templates from Jen Carlton Bailly so this was a great project for some creative play. Here's a peek at my finished mini quilt:

This quilt measures 16.5" square. Here's a little closer peek at the circle fabrics:

I had fun with simple big stitching within the circles, around the edges, and then echoed the circles with some machine stitching in a soft gray that matched the background fabric.

I also added a little more stitching between the circles, for more twirling effect.

I used a gray Grunge for the backing fabric, and one of the circle fabrics for the binding.

I wasn't really satisfied that this little mini was an art quilt, and I still had some inspiration fabric left over, so I got the idea for something a little different.

I cut up some of the encouraging words and phrases from the text fabric, and made a little coneflower.

Using a piece of natural Essex linen for the background, I started by stitching the stem with 12 wt thread that matched the color in the inspiration fabric. I drew out the center of the coneflower and stitched it to the stem by machine, using raw edge applique. Then I glue basted the text pieces on separately, stitching each one down by machine, again using raw edge applique. I found a matching scrap of batik fabric that I used for the leaves and added those, using the same method.

I added a fun text fabric for the binding, and a piece of neutral fabric for the back. The quilting is simply straight lines with a matching thread color.

This little quilt is 8" x 20". Both of these little mini quilts will eventually end up on my mini quilt wall. I like them both for different reasons.

This was such a fun challenge. Thank you, Martha, for the fun inspiration fabric!