Saturday 3 February 2024

New Prompt

 A big thank you for the last group of quilts! Amazing work, everybody! I really enjoy being a part of this group!

It's time to choose the prompt for next time around. And I'll just say right here and now, that I'm going to miss this one. We're going to be traveling nearly the entire time, including the May 1st reveal. There's a lot to do during February to get ready for our March departure, and I don't see how I can fit it in. So, I'll miss the challenge, but I'll look forward to seeing what you all come up with. 

So...without further ado...


Have fun! I'll be watching to see what you do with this.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Patterns in Nature - The Lesser Adjutant

Once upon a time in those halcyon days before the pandemic, I went to Sri Lanka with Mr RH and two of our sons to go to a wedding that included a church service, a buddhist ceremony (where traditional dancers/acrobats fetched first the groom then the bride) and a reception with the biggest chandeliers I’ve ever seen, a banquet and dancing into the early hours. The other guests wore saris in all colours and gold bangles and it really was exactly like falling into a scene from a fairytale…

On that same trip, in Wilpattu National Park, I took a photo of this chap, who also seems like he would be at home in a fairy tale.

And I knew one day he (she?) would appear in a quilt, though in this quilt, I ended up selecting/making patterns using shapes cropped from my image of this striking creature and the bird itself remains waiting to be immortalised in stitches on some other occasion.

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

Walking with Giants

 I had so many potential ideas for this quarter's theme, Patterns in Nature, that I found it really difficult to decide on a project.

When this photo, from our visit a few years ago to the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, popped up on my screen one day I knew that I had found my inspiration! The Giant's Causeway, which is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. comprises around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns many of which are hexagonal in shape. The perfect inspiration for a quilter :)

Here, therefore, is "Walking with Giants", inspired by the natural phenomenon that is the Giant's Causeway. 

 I rarely buy quilting magazines, but in a recent, rare purchase I came across an advert for the Cottage Cloth collection for Andover Fabrics by Renee Nanneman and knew that it would be perfect for my basalt columns. Fortunately, I discovered that I could purchase appropriate fabrics from the collection in 10cm increments at Midsomer Quilting

Rummaging in a sewing room cupboard I happened upon these hexagon templates and papers from a long forgotten magazine purchase. I knew that they would come in handy some day :)

It took me a while to work out how to get the hexagons and columns combined, but I eventually settled upon half basting the hexagon papers and leaving the bottom of the hexagons to form the columns.

Given that the inspiration for my Challenge quilt was set in Northern Ireland I wanted to continue that theme with the fabrics that I chose for the rest of the quilt. Ireland, and Northern Ireland in particular, is famous throughout the world for the quality of its linen fabric, so I wanted to use linen fabrics for the background and trees in the quilt. (You can read more about the history of linen and linen production in Ireland here)

 I didn't have any light blue linen fabric in my stash for the background, but I did have an old linen/cotton mix shirt of my husband's so thought that was appropriate enough. I did have these two lovely green linen lengths, although they are Lithuanian linen rather than Irish, but I thought they would be ideal too.

The hexagon columns were built up on the background fabric and machine quilted with invisible thread and you can see the hexagon shapes more clearly on the back of the quilt below.

The green linens were appliqued to the background with double-sided fusible web and then FMQ'd.

I added a few clouds to the sky to break up that expanse of blue and to give a more accurate representation of Irish weather :)

As ever, this Challenge was delightful and daunting at the same time. I am looking forward to seeing how my fellow Endeavourers met this Challenge, I am sure I will be inspired all over again!

P.S. If you would like a more fanciful story of the origin of the Giant's Causeway you can read it here.

Spectrum Secrets

For this challenge of "Patterns in Nature," I wanted to present those patterns that are outside the range of human vision, but are visible to birds and insects.

Sdixon27, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons 

Using batik fabrics, and glow-in-the-dark and neon threads, I managed a "four-for-one" look: under ordinary light, you see orange flowers with pale butterflies on the front, and dark blue flowers outlined in orange with colorful butterflies on the back. Then under black light, both front and back reveal different lines and colors.

Spectrum Secrets, front, under daylight


Spectrum Secrets, front, under black light.

Spectrum Secrets, reverse, under daylight.

Spectrum Secrets, reverse, under black light.

I should note that the threads and paints I used didn't produce all the color effects I was hoping for, so I gave up on any scientific accuracy and just had fun.  

I enjoyed working on this, and you can read more about the exact materials I used at my home blog, .  That is a WordPress blog and it has a great "image compare" feature with a slider, and I think it's a better way to view these pictures, so I hope you drop by!

Patterns in Nature: Freckled Frog

This was a fun prompt. My quilt was inspired by the Northern Leopard Frogs we encountered while hiking in Fort Ransom State Park in North Dakota. This is my original photograph. You can see more pictures from our hike at that link I've given you.

Using the photograph, I went to work rendering him into fabric. These are time-consuming, and they can be frustrating. This one actually went together more easily than anticipated. When he was finished, he looked like this. 

Then, I created a background for it. 

From there, I peeled him up off the teflon pressing sheet and fused him to the background.

Then it was ready for quilting and binding. First, I went to work thread-painting and stitching down the edges of the frog.

That was done just through the quilt batting and prior to adding the back.

When it was finished, it looked like this:

Searching through my stash, I didn't have a fabric I liked for the back. I went searching online and found the perfect back for the frog. The rest of the quilting was done after the back was added.

And then I went to work quilting a place for the frog to live...and some friends to have over for dinner.

This is my rendering of a dragonfly.

Also, he wanted some lilypads and cattails in his pond.

On both sides, if you don't mind.

When the quilting was finished, I found this binding in my leftover binding scrap bag.

The quilt was actually all finished and hanging on the wall. Every time I entered the sewing room, I felt as if it needed something else on the right side. And so I carefully fused this rising sun (or setting sun...not really sure), and quilted in a few rays.

And then I could call it finished. 

I hope you like my quilt. It finishes up at 17 x 22 inches. 

Patterns in Nature


Project is a table runner. I saw this process on a video from Sew Steady. The flowers and leaves are done using a template ruler.

Then the flowers and leaves are colored with colored Inktense pencils. After the color is applied, I used a fabric textile medium to set the colors and seal them. 

As you can see, I did sew into the border and then cut out the section of flower that intruded. 

The butterfly was one that I freehand drew and transferred onto the fabric, sewed with black and then colored the same way. I don't really care for the butterfly and have tried placing a different one on top but it didn't work. Have thought about cutting that section out but I don't think the time is worth it;(

Patterns in Nature

 My Patterns in Nature piece is based on this photo. 

I have always been fascinated by a stand of trees. The long straight lines reaching up to the sky. I want to go stand amidst them (and have). This particular stand of trees are birch trees seen on an overcast day while in northern Minnesota. 

My finished quilt measures 19" x 25.5" and is very simple. I worked with monochrome colors in white and shades of gray. The background fabric is Moda Grunge in Metropolis Fog. 

Before I began this little improv piece, I had to think a bit about how to arrange the branches to give the appearance of trees close together. Once I got that figured out in my head, I enjoyed an afternoon or two of piecing. 

For the quilting, I just went with straight line piecing in the tree trunks, using thread to match. Then I decided to try to add some shadowy trees using grey thread in differing shades. 

I stitched these freehand, without doing any marking. It was pretty easy to do. Here's another view. 

I backed the quilt with the same Grunge as used on the front, and added a faced binding. 

More challenging than making the quilt itself was trying to get decent photos. Our weather has been very overcast and gloomy, so that really affected the light in my quilt room. 

I enjoyed this Patterns in Nature challenge, and I am enjoying my little stand of birch trees. I'm looking forward to the next challenge!