Wednesday, December 7, 2016

New Project, New Plan

If you didn't already know, 2017 will mark Canada's 150th birthday. I think every quilter on the planet will know soon enough, because the deluge of red & white and maple leaf-themed quilts has already started!

So far, I've managed to stick with my own projects. In January my plan is to pull out these maple leaf blocks from 2014...

...and do something improv-y with them. I already have a fun idea. Or, maybe I should say that was my plan. Thanks to that horrible temptress Quilter Kathy, today I finally laid eyes on the full layout for the 150 Canadian Women quilt along, which I'd been avoiding, and which you can see here.

The decision process was very fast! Yes, two months ago I said that I was done with BOMs and quilt alongs, but you know, I hope I can also recognize a good thing when I see it. This quilt will be a classic.

So, while this was my nice easy plan for today, the last seam on the last units for Week 2 of En Provence...

...instead I went down to my stash in search of a suitable creamy background fabric. This was right on top...

...and so was that scruffy pink piece, so I grabbed that too. I knew the cream fabric was perfect right away. Why?


Yes, there's still one day left in the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up, and I have a butterfly-shaped hole in my line up right now, because I really haven't been able to hand stitch since my back went out in October. So this should keep me going for a while. Please check out the much better butterfly and kaleidoscope photos that everyone else in the link up has posted!

I have enough of this fabric to do all the block backgrounds as well as the sashing, but before I even climbed up all the stairs I knew that using just one background would be too flat for me. I love the depth I managed to get in my first quilt, the nine patch, by using a wide range of backgrounds, some lighter and some darker than the setting fabric. That will be the plan again, and a really wide range of "reds" to go with them.

I started with my Allietare leftovers (good reds!), and then pulled in some other scraps from the bin:

This really was a very enjoyable day. My goal was to make three blocks, and I made seven. With all those scraps in front of you, it's fun to see what looks good together, and how much you can squeeze out of that last tiny piece.

It looks a little grey in the photos, but there is quite a yellow tinge to the background fabric, so I will probably stay on the warm side with my reds. I'm hoping to bring in a little of everything -- modern, traditional, 30s reproductions, batiks...maybe Christmas too. Why not? With luck the blocks will reflect whatever else I am sewing at the time. And I'm going to make an effort to use real scraps from the bin, not yardage.

150 blocks, 3 blocks per week. The patterns are free for two weeks, and you will find them here. The designer, Kathryn Wilson Tucker, has named each block for a pioneering Canadian woman, and includes a brief history with each pattern. They make interesting reading! I sincerely hope she will be able to get a book deal for the quilt sometime this year. It would be great to keep the book along with the quilt. When it's done!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 2 En Provence

It's time for the link up to share our work on Week 2 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, En Provence. We made isosceles triangle units using the Tri Recs ruler set, our constant fabric, and our whites. For the next few weeks, you can read the whole clue here.

My constant fabric is turquoise instead of Bonnie's magenta. For the white I used the same fabric as my white squares last week. The minty green in the white matches the turquoise so well! Now, though, I probably don't have enough to make all the Week 1 squares in this fabric too. I'm sure I can find something else, though.

Looking at the sunflowers in Bonnie's En Provence button, I really thought we'd be making these units in yellow and green! I guess I am too literal sometimes. :D

Bonnie provided us with downloadable foundation patterns, but I made my own. I really like to have the seam allowance marked. And in this case I also carried the stitching line right through the seam allowance. When it comes time to sew paper pieced units into the quilt, I find it goes much better when there are no floppy edges from partially sewn (or crooked!) seams in the seam allowance.

Last year I was very keen on all the triangle rulers, and down on paper piecing. I still like the rulers -- there is no waste, you don't get the build up of thread in the seam, and it could be a little faster -- but, I find that cutting accurately with a triangle ruler is harder on my joints. Cumulatively, I'm hoping that foundation piecing will make me less sore.

I still used the Tri Recs ruler set to rough cut my pieces, though. I bought it just for this project, so I was glad to use it a little!

Since I'm planning to make fewer blocks, I think 64 of these units will be a nice, symmetrical number.

Bring on clue three!

And, please check out everyone else's work at the Week 2 link up, right here.
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