Wednesday 3 May 2023

New Theme Announcement

Thank you for all your wonderful "Maps" quilts. They were all so creative and fun. It's time to choose the next theme. This is the list we're working from. 

  1. Patterns in Nature
  2. Maps 
  3. Collage
  4. Vintage
  5. Circles and Squares
  6. Spices
  7. Mosaic
  8. TBA (Edited to add "Harmony" to the list)
I've removed "Maps" from the list to narrow it down to the remaining categories. Someone still needs to choose a theme for "TBA." Any ideas? For our next theme, the Random Picker Wheel landed on number 3:



The deadline for this theme is August 1st, 2023 at 10.00am GMT but remember you can always put your post up earlier and Schedule it.

In the meantime, you are welcome to share your thoughts, ideas and progress here on The Endeavourers Blog.

This is my first attempt at choosing a theme. My thanks to Janine for prompting me and telling what I needed to do.

Happy Sewing!


Monday 1 May 2023

Maps: The Honeymoon

Honest confession - maps have never really been my thing. On the other hand, my husband loves them. So when I told him about this challenge with the theme of Maps, I asked him what I should do. He said I should replicate the Fisher map we used on our honeymoon trip. Fisher Maps - if you have every trekked into the border country of Minnesota and Canada, you may have used a Fisher map, made by the W. A. Fisher Company. They are iconic maps that have been made since 1929. You can read more about the company here

A little about our honeymoon trip. I had never been to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW, but it is usually shortened to BWCA), but I had been KOA camping (meaning, comfy camping in a camper), so I figured I knew enough. Ha. Camping in the BWCA is sleeping in a tent, eating by campfire, using a very out in the open toilet (okay, there are trees), and no showers. Hubs had been to the BWCA quite a few times, but this was his first time going in solo, with a new wife in tow. We learned a lot, about camping - and each other. 

Years earlier, my dad and my brother built redwood strip canoes, and hubs thought it would be a neat way to honor my dad (who he never got to meet) by taking the canoe on the trip with us. It was a beautiful craft in the water, but it was heavy even before being fully loaded. To give you an idea, hubs made an oak yoke for the canoe, so it would be easier for him to carry. We took it out for a trial run (without packs, etc.), and the yoke broke when he flipped it up onto his shoulders. Hmm. It was so wide at the center that it took up most of the roof on our old Chevy Impala, while other cars were zipping by with two canoes strapped to theirs. But as I said, it was an awesome canoe in the water, so we were determined. 

A week before we were to head in, there were news reports of a bear attack in the BWCA - a rare thing. The attack just happened to be in the area where we were headed. Hubs wisely decided that it might be good to go to another lake rather than have me worrying about a bear (not that it stopped me!). When getting approval to switch our entry point from the ranger at check-in, she quipped, "If you can make it a week in the BWCA for your honeymoon, your marriage will last forever!" Well, here we are, 30-some odd years later. I guess we did something right. 

Upon arriving at our campsite, after paddling through the rain and hilly, muddy, slippery portages (only two, thankfully), we found a little plastic giraffe left on a big rock. Since our campsite was on a point, we dubbed the campsite "Rainy Giraffe Point". I seriously considered taking that little giraffe with me for a momento when we left, but in the end, left it for the next campers to discover. 

Fisher maps are known for their bright colors, a yellow green for the land, and blue for the water. There are topographic markings as well, and I wasn't sure how I was going to stitch that in on the land. I was surprised to find a piece of Tula Pink fabric I had in my stash - no idea when or where I bought it - that had a design that looked topographical, and in the right color! I love it when that happens. 

So I did a rough trace of the lake, just making it kinda like the actual shape. I traced it in reverse on some fusible, and fused it to the blue fabric and cut it out. Even with rough tracing, those little ins and outs called for a sharp scissors. Before I attached the lake to the map, I sandwiched the yellow green fabric, batting and backing and did some quick grid quilting to mimic the latitude and longitude lines on the map. 

Once that was done, I fused the lake onto the quilt. I decided to hand stitch around the outline of the lake using Aurifil 12 wt. blue thread, then I stitched in some depth lines, but not exactly like what would be seen on the actual Fisher map - just enough for you to get the idea. Next came marking the campsites in little red x's - the campsite we stayed at is marked with a heart. BWCA maps come marked with designated campsites, which have a fire grate on site and biffies (toilets) nearby. Campers are only to camp at those specified sites, and they are first come, first served. If all the sites are taken, you find another lake on your route with an open site. 

I also stitched in the approximate route we took across the lake to the campsite. It rained the entire way, but thankfully broke long enough for us to get our tent up and attempt to hang our packs. Did I mention that our packs were heavy too? The ropes broke while we were hanging the packs, so we ended up putting the packs in the canoe, and the canoe out in the water (tethered to a tree) and hoped no bear would come into camp. I was beginning to see why the ranger said what she did . . .

Next I attached the label, which I wrote up with a Pigma pen. Then I worked on the silhouette sketch of Rainy Giraffe Point - that little giraffe-ish figure was a bit difficult in that tiny size! 

For the backing, I used a fat quarter I've had in my stash, just waiting for the perfect quilt. It seemed appropriate. Then I added striped binding, because I like striped bindings. 

Here's a peek at my finished quilt next to a Fisher map. I think it worked out well! 

I'm looking forward to seeing the other Maps quilts! Thanks for the fun challenge! 


Maps: London 1572

Looking at maps sets me to dreaming of adventures, so for this prompt I looked for one that epitomizes that feeling.  This one has beautiful soft colors, and so many details you feel like you could jump in and time travel.

Londinium feracissimi Angliae regni metropolis, 1572.

I found it in The Map Book, edited by Peter Barber, ISBN 0-8027-1474-9.  His credits are very small and abbreviated, so I think the original is at the British Library, but I haven't been able to find it online.

First I chose just part of the map where I really liked the shapes of the neighborhoods, and then I placed the Thames directly beneath them, editing away whole areas of the real London. And of course once I got working on it, very few of the shapes matched the originals.

I made big panels of scraps and then cut them into the shapes I needed.  Originally I thought about using textile paint over all to give a more antique feel, but I ended up liking the colors of the scraps and kept them as they were.

For the city areas, I outlined the shapes with piping and other trims; for the rural areas, I did free motion "scribbling" to evoke the hedges in the original map.  (I wish I had remembered the technique of mounting those shapes on black felt to create a nice outline.  Next time.)

Detail of the "neighborhoods."
The hardest decision for me was what to use for the border!  I tried so many things, but when I picked up this English ivy green fabric, I knew it was perfect.  Although the border kind of blends into my yard in this picture.

I could definitely go back in and free-motion stitch little cobbles in all the pathways, and stitch little boats in the Thames, and I could add some more shapes to the white space, but overall I do like this quilt.  It's got a sort of kids'-storybook vibe to it, I think. Looking at it reminds me of the time I spent perusing the original and enjoying all the details.


Somewhere like Coverack

For this challenge, I wanted to make a map as a fictional location for some 12th scale models that I have perpetually in progress. As one of the models is a lighthouse, although that isn't included in the map, I needed a suitably coastal location so I looked for pictures of the sort of place I had in mind and then searched for a corresponding map. 

I eventually based this very roughly on a vintage Town Plan, Sea and Coast Chart of Coverack in Cornwall, England. It is a very beautiful location and well worth a quick google search to see some photos. 

Usually, I struggle to think of something to make but this time I had an idea from the start and, ironically,  I had all sorts of trials (including not having a sewing machine for a couple of months, a house full of plaster dust, a christening cake, a nasty virus and some commissioned bags) so it became a very last minute rush despite my early planning and is unfortunately, very rough and ready. 

I tried a new-to-me fused applique collage technique and added machine and hand sewing and permanent marker. It was interesting to try some new things and a miracle to get it done at all but disappointing that the end result doesn't look a bit better! One day I'd like to attempt a more polished version.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone has made this quarter :)


 I have always been intrigued and fascinated by the stars in the sky. Several times I have stayed up to see comet, a lunar eclipse, or just look at the sky. 

This is a representation of the constellations of the northern hemisphere. I did not put in other stars and many of these keep falling off. The names of most of the constellations were put in by machine. The Milky Way was made from organza.

Here are a couple close-ups.

Just thought I'd add that there are 441 crystals on the quilt (at this time)!

Hello Islay!

This one took me a while to get going on.  When the subject is so large and open as Maps so many ideas pop into your head and this is the bit with quilting that I struggle with; which idea to make?  I have a notebook full of designs and variations of designs and sometimes I think I play too much and end up with too many options.  

My initial thought was an olde worlde map feel but I had done something similar before with a compass rose and a windmap of Shannon Airport.  Then I thought of the gorgeous work by Alicia Merrett and the winning quilt in Birmingham a few years ago by Mary Palmer and how different maps can be.  My first attempt was a line map of our neighbourhood and while I think there is something in this it wasn't doing anything for me and weeks slipped by.

2023 is a big birthday year for myself and Gordon.  His 50th was in March so being seriously into Whiskey we had to make the trip to Scotland.  We went to Edinburgh at the end of March and last week to Islay, an island off the west coast with 9 working distilleries and 2 more in the works.  The island has a population of about 3000 people!

So on our return I thought thats it I'm making a collage map if Islay.  Once I had settled on what to make I got stuck in, turned on Netflix and had this made in half a day.  I shocked myself!  This was so much fun and so fast to do. 

I traced the map onto parchament paper, ironed scraps to bondaweb and had fun making a mish mash of greens.  The island reminded us of Galway on the southern side where the 3 distillery walk is 3 miles long and the home of Laphroig, Lagavulin (Ron Swanson's favourite) and Ardbeg.  

And then on the Northern side of the island Mayo and Sligo with its beatiful rolling hills and peaty bogland.

I cut out the shape of the island I had traced from the back so the mish mash made some sense!
And I ended up with this cleaned up collage map thing.  The brown greens for the bog and the brigher greens for the pastures with the sheep and their playful lambs and rocky walls.  Two small bits of blue for the larger of the natural lakes and later on I added in pops of yellow for some of the larger beaches.
I had a scrap of brushed cotton in a flannel print left over form an Irish chain winter quilt I'm making and that seemed to be the perfect background. 
Straight line quilted in gold/cream thread echoing the backgrount print and popped into a frame to finish. 
It's a lovely reminder to have of a great holiday (lots of walks, lots of sunshine, lots of whiskey tasting and lots of fun meeting new people and feeling rested).
Our view from the guesthouse in Port Ellen was so nice to return to at the end of the day.

And while whiskey isn't my drink of choice I have a better appreciation for it now and the work that goes into it.  I have to admit I might be a little bit obsessed with the barrels as I have more photos of those than anything else!

Veni, Vidi, Vici

 Along with Amo, Amas, Amat (I, you, he/she or it loves) the title of this post (I came, I saw, I conquered) is the only Latin I remember from 5 years of study :( 

It is, however, the perfect introduction to my quilt for this quarter's challenge - Maps.

Our middle and youngest sons recently completed their walk along the route of Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland. They have tackled the walk in stages so the section shown in the quilt above was the final section to be walked on a lovely, sunny Sunday last month. We were, fortunately, able to join them for this last section and for the pub lunch celebration after! 

The route shown on the quilt is contained within both of these maps above. When we lived in Northumberland, Hadrian's Wall was a popular destination for days out so, as you can see, the map at the back has been well used :)

Along this part of the wall there were several turrets and milecastles, which are marked on the map and quilt. Part of the route was closed for maintenance, so we had to walk around and through the plantation shown on the left. It was a good test of how waterproof our walking boots were! 

Hadrian's Wall runs from Coast to Coast along the edge of Northumberland and Cumbria and measures 73 miles along its length, but is 80 Roman Miles so I added the Roman Numerals for 80 to signify the boys' achievement. 

 I would like to make a similar quilt for the starting point of their walk so they can have one each to mark their journey.

Looking forward to seeing how my fellow Endeavourers have tackled this new challenge!

Head over to Celtic Thistle Stitches to read some of the background to the whole walk.

Maps Reveal: Full Circle

Today is the reveal for the quilt generated from the "Maps" prompt. I call my quilt "Full Circle." Here's my finished quilt. 

I've adjusted the brightness and contrast a little to make the thread drawings visible. It requires some explanation, and I've written a rather lengthy quilt tour with stories and pictures on my personal blog. For this post, I've cut the "fluff." If you want to read more about it, please click here for more

The prompt had me going off in all directions. I considered road maps, star maps, weather maps, and more. In my online wandering, I came across a term I'd not heard before: "Mind mapping." You can click on that link for more information, but in a nutshell...

"Mind maps provide a structured way to capture and organize ideas and information. They help users to understand concepts by breaking them down into their component parts. The technique is used to develop new ideas, or to break down and better understand existing information. Mind mapping is a powerful technique to help you visually develop and organize ideas and information."

Here is an example in visual form:

With this idea in mind, I remembered a certain fabric in my stash...this one:

I was reminded of a theme central to my self-identify: that of being a Marine Corps brat. From that starting place, the ideas flowed, and I got very excited about making this quilt.

It was an easy concept: Put the Marine Corps fabric in the quilt's center, and then surround it with blocks from the states where I'd lived while growing up. Taking the idea further, I decided to quilt it with "thread drawings" of some of my unique personal memories of each place. 

The center block is the starting point of this mind-mapping exercise. I added three borders to bring it to the size I wanted.

The nomadic lifestyle of the military brat means lots of road trips. And I guess that makes it appropriate for the prompt in a different way. A road trip requires a map, and at the time we were traveling, paper maps were the only choice. I loved that part of our life. The quilting on this block makes me think of tire tracks.

Starting at the top and moving clockwise, the first state represented is my home state of California. The quilt block is called "Road to California." The horse and barn fabric you see there was purchased at a quilt shop in Sonora, California. It was quilted with a simple dot-to-dot motif.

I was only three when we left California for my dad's next duty station. To its right, I quilted the first thread drawing of a dandelion, the official flower of the military brat.

From California, we headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is the state quilt block for New Mexico. The petroglyph fabric you see was purchased at a quilt shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We lived in New Mexico for only a short time, and I have almost no memories of our life there. However, I've been back to Albuquerque several times as an adult. For my thread drawings, I included Kokopelli, representing our visit to nearby Petroglyph National Monument and a hot air balloon representing Albuquerque’s annual balloon festival.

From Albuquerque, we traveled all the way to the Atlantic coast for our next home at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. This is North Carolina's state block: 

The blue crab fabric you see there in the middle was some I purchased at a quilt shop in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

My memories of North Carolina are these: Behind our house there was some kind of drainage ditch. There, we could catch polliwogs (or tadpoles, if you like). We'd keep them in mason jars or large bowls until they sprouted legs and turned into tiny frogs, no larger than a kidney bean. (Occasionally, they got loose in the house.) Also, we survived a bad hurricane, Hurricane Donna, in 1960. I'm a born cat lover, and it was the first time I was given a kitten. Here are my thread drawings for North Carolina memories.

After North Carolina, my dad's next post was at The Pentagon, in Washington, D.C. For that, we packed up and moved to Groveton, Virginia. Here is Virginia's state block, the Virginia Reel. 

The ladybug fabric was purchased at a quilt shop in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was a banner year for ladybugs that year and we had a small infestation in our RV at the time.

Virginia was an interesting and historic place to live. Our family made many visits to our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. It was the first time we lived in a place where I awakened to the enchantment of a landscape covered in freshly fallen snow. And it was the one place we lived where I saw fireflies (or lightning bugs, if you prefer). 

From Virginia, we drove back across country to San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean, where we boarded a military ship (the USS Patrick) and crossed under the Golden Gate Bridge on our way to my dad's next duty station at Marine Corps Air Station in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii.

While Hawaii has a state block, I liked this "Pineapple Star" better.  I quilted it with plumeria in the corners. I don't have any fabric purchased in Hawaii, so I let the palm trees do the heavy lifting for this block.

I learned to dance the hula and to play the ukelele.

Among my fondest memories was seeing the pineapple fields during a visit with my aunt and uncle. The pineapples had been harvested, and they were doing some "grooming" work in the fields when they came across a pineapple they'd missed. A worker handed it to me, and I'm telling you, it remains to this very day the sweetest, best-tasting pineapple I've ever eaten. It made me a life-long lover of fresh pineapple. I'm still searching for one that tastes as sweet.

And that brings me full circle back to California, where I lived out the remainder of my "brat years."

From Hawaii, we boarded a ship to return to the mainland and my dad's next post at Camp Pendleton, California. There, I attended the remainder of my school years while my dad did three tours in Vietnam, always returning to Camp Pendleton. There, I learned to play the clarinet, and I was a member of our high school band. 

I graduated from the same high school where I met my husband. We exchanged marriage vows, and then moved to Arizona shortly thereafter, bringing my life as a military brat to a close. My quilt was finished with some simple stippling around the open areas where the thread drawings are. I used the same "tire track" motif in the outer border.

Putting it all in context, here is my finished mind-mapped quilt:

Here's how it looks from the back:

It's a little too large to qualify as an "art” quilt. At 48 x 48 inches, it's more lap-sized than wall-sized. I had so much fun making it. I hope you like my quilt.