Our virtual quilting bee, the Cheer circle of do Good Stitches, has a new quilt in the making. The quilter for this month chose the Road to Tennessee block. She pretty much just told us how to do it on Flickr but offered up a couple of links to online tutorials. Here is one link, but there are others as well. She asked for gender neutral colors (no pink or purple) and a white or whitish background. I pretty much went for contrast and movement rather than rainbow or childish in my fabric choices. It is always interesting to see the finished quilts after all of the makers get their blocks done.
This quilt top came together pretty quickly. I have had a stack of fat quarters sitting around for awhile, waiting for inspiration to strike. When I saw the tutorial for the St. Louis 16 Patch block, I thought it would work well with the directional prints of the Lucky Penny Bike Path line. I used a variety of low volume fabrics for contrast.
The quilt top measures 56" x 70", a lap quilt size, which seems to be about the only size I make. It is big enough to show off fabrics and design but still small enough to easily handle machine quilting it at home. Besides, then I can finish one project and move on to the next!
I am thinking about this Lucky Penny fabric for the backing but also kind of want something that is lighter in color overall. It's from the same collection so the colors are perfect. What do you think?
This quilt has been finished for awhile but sometimes it takes longer to get the photographs than it does to make the quilt. I used the Granny Square Quilt Tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop blog and followed the instructions pretty much to the letter. The strip piecing method was quick and enjoyable; each set of cut fabrics makes two blocks. I liked the rounded corners on the pattern and since I had never used this variation of quilt construction, I wanted to try it. I sewed a bias binding after reading several sets of instructions online and was happy with how it turned out. The fabrics are a variety of grays and blues with a little bit of bright green. I wanted a limited color palette with this project and wanted to keep the overall effect rather soft, despite the navy and the darker gray. The background and sashing is Kona Snow - it's not the brightest white so there is slightly less contrast with the colored blocks.
I stabilized the layers with a double row of straight line machine quilting through all of the blocks before I attached the binding. I prefer doing my hand stitching once all of the batting is tucked in; it isn't always possible but it worked out well this time.
The backing is a pretty Denyse Schmidt fabric called Complex Plaid in Willow from the Shelburne Falls line. It complements the colors of the front and, because the plaid is printed on point, it echoes the X shapes of the blocks. It only needed one seam on the back but I carefully matched the plaid for the fun of it. Hmm - wonder if anyone will care?
The finished quilt measures 57" x 68" before washing.
A friend of mine is from Vancouver and she goes back frequently to visit her family and friends. I had never been there, even though it is only a couple of hours from here, and we easily worked out a couple of days in our schedules to make a trip up there together. One of her friends with a quaint apartment downtown was away for a month so we had a place to stay and it was a nice holiday (as they say in Canada) for both of us. We visited with her mum at a coffee shop but mostly we had some girl time, shopping and eating interesting meals and going for long walks in a very clean and lively city. She liked driving me through some of the areas where she had lived long ago, showing me her childhood home and telling tales of youth and and adventures and old jobs and relationships. I liked it all - the big, sprawling parks and the tight neighborhoods, the cosmopolitan feel of the markets and the streets, the ethnic food and the long and lovely views.
Maureen and her mum, Gloria
I have been trying, these days, to catch up with friends and reading and get some exercise and the garden in and work a bit at the clinic and not focus so much on the dumb quilts. Of course, I really don't think sewing is dumb but when I recently had a quick look back on the blog from five years ago, I didn't care at all about the socks I had posted about. Ray and Dave are what I care about the most and that's what I lingered over - what our life was like back then and the pictures and words that tried to capture a glimpse of it. This blog will never be much of a personal journal - I can't be all confessional and self revealing in public like some folks on the net - and it also has never become a real interactive blog as some popular craft blogs do. I think Mexican Yarns will continue to be what it has been all along - a place for me to record most of my projects and a small slice of my life with my family and friends. There will always be lulls - sometimes posting to the blog doesn't seem very important. I love my teenage boy and my dear, fine man and though I would love to write something here that does justice to our rich and easy life together, the words won't gel and I have no pictures.
But I am working on the pictures for the next dumb quilt post. Kind of. When I feel like it...
I went down an internet wormhole a couple of weeks ago and got lost in the world of sewing for children. I saw some beautiful clothes and REALLY wanted to dive in and make some cute outfits for a little girl or boy. It sure seemed impractical, though, as my boy towers over me and kisses me on the top of my head. I ended up making a couple of shirts for myself.
Kwik Sew 2849
I didn't want to drive the 20 miles to Joann's so I found a basic shirt pattern at the fabric store in Anacortes. The pattern has sizes from XS to XL. I held the pieces up to a couple of blouses from my closet and traced off size S, guessing that it was the closest size in the anatomical areas that mattered the most. I used freezer paper for the tracings and then made a muslin to check the fit and add adjustments.
Many riffs are possible from a simple pattern like this. Sleeves, collars and necklines are easy to adjust. Fabric choice makes a huge difference and with corduroy or a heavier cotton or linen, I could go up a size and make a lightweight jacket. We'll see. Summer is coming and I hope I need cooler clothes instead of more coats.