Happy colours

There’s a new quilt in the pipeline.

Anyone who sees the finished thing wouldn’t believe it’s one of mine, but it is. Let’s start at the beginning… I have a new friend (hello, Vera my lovely!) and she is warm, kind and generous, and because of this, she deserves a quilt. I asked her what her favourite colours were, and she replied that she loved yellow and ochre, they made her happy. Now, you know me. If there’s one colour I’m unlikely to make a whole quilt from, it’s yellow. So I took yellow as my start point and extended it out into this gloriously bright and happy selection. Yellow, ochre, orange, pink, pumpkin and rust… Colours of Happiness, which is what the quilt is called.

It’s going to be simple and hopefully quick to make: a giant starburst in the middle, with a chequered border of 2 inch squares all round. I think I’ll be hand-quilting it. Vera lives 2,320km (1,442 miles) away, in Melbourne, and I won’t see her again till February, so I have time…

I think this quilt is going to teach me to love yellow. We don’t have much of a relationship right now; I don’t believe I own a single yellow item, but I can see how it brightens and enlivens and brings sunshine to this colour selection ūüôā It’s never too late to learn.

Spring’s on the way. Let’s let the sunshine in!

Aim√©e 4: Pieced at last

The top for Aimée is together, and I can stop whipping out my tape measure and calculator every few minutes.

Screen shot 2015-01-18 at 5.17.25 PMSpontaneous design is very nice, and looks fun, but it does require a lot of arithmetic, never my strong point. If God had wanted us to do long division, he’d have given us calculators instead of fingers. And I don’t really enjoy working in base 16 (inches) when I’m used to base 10 (centimetres) in daily life. But this is the price you pay for making it up as you go along…

I have to head over to Spotlight tomorrow and buy 4 metres of backing fabric (since I don’t think I’ll find anything suitable¬†in wideback, but I may be mistaken). ¬†I have batting, I have thread, I’m good to go. For the binding, I’ve dug out some dark grey fabric with a cream spot, the same, you may remember, as I used a while back for my pillows. I reckon with a bit of nifty piecing-in of some of the red from the red border, I might just have enough.

Next stop, the sandwich. I shall, as usual, be pinning the quilt using quilting safety pins, and my 3 metre dining table. ¬†I’m too old and my hip is too painful to crawl on the floor, and if I tape the backing and batting along one edge of the table, then offer up the quilt top to the same edge and pin from one side to another, letting the weight of the fabric pull everything taut, I’ve been getting a pretty good result and no sore back. ¬†Once half the pinning is done, you untape the backing edge and carefully pull it across. Most of the time, there’s very little smoothing out needed. I can even pin sitting down.

Nearly time to tick another one off the list!

Aimée 2

Aimée has grown a bit more.

Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 5.43.13 PMI think I now¬†have the final size, which was dictated by the width of the lovely Anita’s Arrowhead blocks I made yesterday (thank you for the link, Esther). In the corners, I will put dresden plate blocks, using scraps from the quilt, and I will fill between the corner and centre blocks with a simple striped fill¬†–¬†again, using some scraps and some new fabrics. There might also be a little more appliqu√©. I have auditioned more of the duck egg blues, and using too many of them simply makes the quilt look bland and wishy washy, so there’ll be a mixture of colours. The warm rosy red border was also visually necessary, and fortunately I had just enough of it.

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Close up of Anita’s Arrowhead and the red border

Any thoughts on what colour I should use to bind this beauty? All opinions considered, but I’ll end up doing what the quilt tells me in the end….


Which is what I’ve decided to call the the quilt for my sister.

Aimée means loved. It is also, coincidentally, pronounced exactly the same as the name of the village in France where my sister lives, although the spelling is quite different to look at.

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It’s working quite well for me; I’m loving the way this little quilt is coming together.¬†The dark grey with white spots is not sashing, it’s a flange strip, just to add a little variety and texture. I’m really loving the Toile de Jouy print in duck egg blue,¬†too, and am quite proud of the mitred corners, which I normally avoid like the plague. But the layout demanded it, so I knuckled down. I’m thinking about a few options for the next row out.

I’ve done hearts and pinwheels. Time for something else, I think…

Long overdue

Another one from the UFO list.

Screen shot 2015-01-11 at 7.37.02 AMI’ve started the quilt I promised my younger sister nearly two years ago. I know exactly when I promised it, as she came to Australia to visit when I was just out of hospital following surgery for breast cancer. I was feeling surprisingly OK and optimistic, and we went shopping for fabric. The bag has been sitting in my cupboard ever since! To be fair, a few things have happen in between: chemotherapy, getting married, moving to Queensland, and then more recently, moving house. But now it’s time. Yesterday was her birthday, and I wanted to be able to say I’d made a start.

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Moulin de la Grenouille

Screen shot 2015-01-11 at 7.35.42 AMHer tastes are more traditional than mine. She lives in the Dordogne, in France, in a beautiful old converted watermill, and ¬†her house is full of antique furniture, beautiful rugs, books, pictures, elegant muted fabrics and stone floors. So her fabric choices reflect this. I had three Moda charm packs at the time, Etchings by 3 Sisters and Petite Ecole and Panier de Fleurs by French General. She picked out the colours she liked from these, and we bought fabrics that blended. The design she left up to me. I’m simply starting in the middle with a square made from the charm squares, and working my way out as a sort of medallion quilt. Literally, I’m making it up as I go along.

So far, we have square piecing, HST pinwheels and one central appliqu√© block. There will be some appliqu√© corners, and some dresden plate squares, and probably a border of HSTs too. It’s not going to be fancy; she wouldn’t care about or appreciate fancy, what she cares about is colour, and that I made it for her. I do realise I’ve made things difficult for myself with making it up as I go along; I have to keep on working out measurements to fit the ever-increasing size, but it’s all part of the fun.

More pinwheels today, I think…

Languid Lounging, part 2

I got stuck into this one straight away.

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Using my favourite trick for sewing the HSTs takes all the guesswork and margin for error out of the process.

It’s going to be some squares, some half square triangles, finished block size 4″, 4 rows of 4 to give a 16″ square pillow. Mainly because that’s the size of pillow insert I’ve got… But I prefer a small, plump pillow to a big one. The larger ones are either too well stuffed and rather firm, or under stuffed and too floppy. I’m going to be spending a bit of quality time on the sofa, and I want it comfy…

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Lining up the pattern was a total accident, for which I claim no credit!

I’ve had this fabric selection for some time; I love the combination of black, white, grey and acid lime, and I have remnants of the olive/lime shot cotton I used for the back of Broken Bottles for the backs of these pillows. I’m going to do a very simple back, no fancy hidden zippers or envelope backs. A zipper straight across the centre back, with a placket to cover the teeth. The only fancy bit is that the zipper is grey to match the front fabrics, instead of the¬†olive/lime fabric. A bit silly, perhaps, considering it’s going to be hidden, but I like hidden details.

I’m going to quilt the fronts, which will help to give the pillow body. I think there’s going to be enough fabric for 3 or 4 of them, so each pillow is going to have a different front layout and quilting design. ¬†They’re small, so I can get fancy on that bit. Machine quilting, though, I want to be using them very soon!

Any useful scraps will probably get turned into a set of matching mug coasters. Big bits will get returned to the stash. Did I say before how much I love these fabrics – especially the grey spot and the lime HST design?

It’s such a luxury having a cutting table that’s just for cutting…. No clearing away all the time.