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Monday, June 29, 2009


With a vast number of projects stacked on my worktable, you would hardly think I needed to get set up for a new one! But as so often happens, a single fabric caught my eye and suddenly The Perfect Project sprang to mind.

I have long intended to sit down and make Christmas Quilts...quilts that come out and are only put on beds between December 1st and January 1st. But it turns out I am extremely picky about my Christmas quilts...I loathe projects that tip over into the sugary-sweet, trite and twee range, and the bulk of Christmas patterns fall into that category. I want something that evokes the spirit of the season without drowning you in it.

Enter the Wintergraphix II fabric line by Jason Yenter for In The Beginning Fabrics! One design jumped out at me, probably because I am a big fan of the lowly pine cone. Something about their simple yet complex design is fascinating, compelling, and satisfying to the eye. I knew I had a fabric worthy of an elegant, distinctive, and joyful Christmas quilt:

The pinky plums of the Amaryllis blooms and the poinsettia appealed, and having put together one One Block Wonder quilt, I could see that this fabric would really shine using that technique.

So six yards are on their way from Quilted Strait. Woo hoo! Yazaa! Now I wonder, which Christmas will this quilt debut on? 2010? Not at the rate I am going!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Zen and the Art of Baby Quilt Making...

Finally! I had stockpiled these luscious flannels for a rag baby quilt, but wouldn't you know it? Everybody was having baby boys! At last, the advent of Jada was announced, and I could go to town with my pink flannels.

I chose to make a rag quilt, although the square in a square design dictated a rail fence type of rag pattern. I suppose I could somehow have figured out how to rag only the margins of that inner square, but thinking about the logistics made my brain hurt.

Which violated my Second Law of Quilting:

Quilting has to feed your soul, not drain it.

In other words, I quilt to restore my energy levels, not to sit in tears of frustration, madly sewing and ripping against a deadline. I find that working in colours I love is essential to this process: when I work in fabrics and colours I do not like, things do not go well. Not with me, and not with the quilt.

Baby quilts are not just lovely to make, celebrating the birth of a new little person and working with a heart full of joy and good will, but they are small. And that means you can finish one fairly quickly, and get that pop! that comes from viewing a finished work. It also means you have the luxury of trying out different techniques and finishes, in a timeframe that is friendly to picking up and practicing a new skill without getting tired or bored. And the investment in materials is also small, so if things don't go well, you can afford to either scrap the project or donate it to a worthwhile cause.

For all those reasons, I am a big fan of baby quilts.

As I constructed the quilt, I realized it needed a border to set it off, and I was fortunate to find exactly the right fabric, this fabulous yellow and pink pansy flannel from Northcott Fabrics, from the Chapel Hill collection by Ro Gregg:

To give it a final finish, and because I remember how much I loved the feel of the satin ribbon binding on the blankets we used when I was a child, I hunted out the perfect rich pink ribbon and added that as my final design detail:

I have to admit, this one will be hard to give away, a sure sign that you have a design worth repeating! So I stockpiled yardage of all the fabrics I used, and will be making a couple more to have ready for the next little pink bundles of joy.

Meanwhile, my cousin is expecting triplet boys! So much for pink!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Season of Growth

Columbine and matching Centranthus ruber, which seeds freely in my garden...

June on the west coast, usually an unsettled month of cold and rain, has been glorious. It has been high summer here at the edge of the Pacific, with temperatures far above even our usual August weather. The gardens are exploding with growth.