Monday, April 24, 2017

Stash Sale

This weekend a nearby guild had a big stash sale. One of their founders, Marcie Lane, lost her fight with cancer last year, and they were selling her stash to raise funds for cancer care and research. Personally, I really like the idea of continuity in a stash sale. The room was packed, and every person there went home with a little of Marcie's legacy. I sincerely hope that when I am gone (you know, 40 or 50 years from now), my guild will sell off all my fabrics too.

Among other things, this bag of red and white fabric caught my eye:

When I lived in the States, I thought my obsession with red and white quilts was because I'm from Canada. But, here was a whole room full of Canadian quilters who had no problem walking right by this bag. So obviously, it's just me. Looking closer, I could see there were several applique patterns on freezer paper ironed onto the red fabric.

A red and white applique quilt, I thought. Nice! I added it to my pile, and sat down to wait for the checkout line to get shorter. I had a nice chat with Marcie's mom, who was also a Bob Ross fan. But the line didn't get any shorter, and I decided that I wasn't going to be able to wait. I put it all back and headed home.

While I was driving, I could not stop thinking about this quilt. I was sure that I could fuse the red to a light pieced background, and that would be nice. So, back I went! Almost one hour in line, but quilters always have plenty to talk about. ;)

At home, I opened the package and pulled out the other blocks. They started to look familiar:

That is such a distinctive block, and I realized that it is actually Aunt Millie's Garden by Piece o'Cake Designs. Fortunately, I already had the pattern:

A red and white version of Aunt Millie, I thought! But, now I am pretty sure that the big red squares were just the backgrounds, same as the original quilt, and marked in silver pencil for the placement of the applique:

And all that white fabric probably wasn't part of the project at all. There were 11 blocks in the package, so I think Marcie had already started one, and that ended up separated from the rest. It is funny that I assumed that Marcie was making it the way that I would want to make it, even though that was not the case at all!

But I still had to try my idea. I took off all Marcie's freezer paper, dug out an old roll of Steam-a-Seam, and covered the back with the fusible. Then I carefully cut out the applique following the silver pencil lines:

Snip, snip, snip...
The fabric is a thick, rich red hand dye, so fortunately there is no wrong side, and the fabric is very stable. My fusible, however, was old and not sticking very well, but I kept the mat underneath at all times, and I got there.

I laid it out again on my fabric, and fused it. My plan was to straight stitch the edge, rather than satin stitch or blanket stitch. Over at Indigo Threads, Sharon recently shared a photo of a quilt she'd made this way. The fabric frays a little at the edge after washing, and I really like the soft look it has.

I considered a matching red thread for the stitching, but then I decided orange would have more character. The stitch length is fairly short, about 1.75 on my machine, and I usually piece at 2.

The Aunt Millie pattern has little pieced circles in the centres. While I was cutting, I was reminded of how Hawaiian quilts are made, and I decided to fold and free cut the centre in a similar way. It is like a "maker's mark." Mine turned out fairly wonky...

...but I think it sets the right tone. I will try some different cuts on the other blocks. But for now, here's the finished block:

The red is so rich that it looks like velvet against the prints. I'm happy! I think I'll make 9 all together, and set them on point with alternate pieced blocks. It's all planned!

Since fusible applique is probably my future, I am glad this came together so well, and that I have eight more blocks to practice with. It was just the right degree of challenging, and I am interested to see how the next ones will turn out.

Now I have to find room for it in my project drawers... Just when I had it all neat and organized, a new project comes along!

(N.B. I went back to put in the link to the Bob Ross post, and I see that post links to the Piece o'Cake blog! Isn't it funny how some things seem to stick together?)


  1. So sorry to hear about the loss of one of your Guild members. Having the stash sale to raise funds
    is a good idea, as you say there is continuity and your purchase was a wonderful buy! Your block is beautiful and what a quilt you'll have when all blocks are ready to go.

  2. Oh no, to be clear, I never met Marcie. Her guild opened the sale to all the guilds in the area. She worked in a quilt shop, so her stash was gigantic!

  3. They will need a couple of trucks to move mine. I like what you did with that red. I have been doing some fused applique and like to see how others do it.

  4. It's a good story. It illustrates how ideas work and the power of adopt and adapt. It will look great and be so rich in association. Perhaps the Guild could hold another fund raiser next year, exhibiting all the things made from Marcie Lane's stash!

    1. LOL, that is a good idea. Thanks, Jillian!

  5. What a great story. Your friend Marcie would be thrilled to know that you are finishing this one up for her and I totally love your interpretation of the blog. Just wonderful!

  6. That is WONDERFUL fabric! It does look like it is suede or velvet. I wouldn't have thought of using such a scrappy background which looks terrific!

    1. Thanks, Terry! Yes, I wish I knew the brand, because it is thicker than most batiks, but still saturated right through. I am praying that the dye is properly fixed, because I couldn't wash it without removing the pencil!

  7. Piece o' Cake designs are just lovely. I used to live near their hometown and we all loved their work although I've never made one. Like you, love red and this one is delicious. I like the way you adapted the designs. Using orange thread is marvelous.
    Question: I recently stitched an applique like you but my line of stitching wandered all over the place, even though the feed dogs were up. Do you have any advice on how you get the stitching parallel to to edge? So envious and need some help. I, too, will never be doing much hand applique anymore.

  8. what a great project you bought and your first block looks amazing, so sad you friend lost her battle with cancer but what a wonderful way to raise funds for research. Like Ann I wonder how you get your stitching so perfect

  9. It was clearly meant to be! I'm a relatively recent convert to red but love this idea, and all the little changes you are making. I like Indigo Thread's fluffy edges too.

  10. I once made a quilt like Sharon's and it only started fraying enough ti lose the stitching after years on the back of the couch. I absolutely adore what you're doing with this, the appliqué in the rich red, the pieced cream background, your makers mark--so much to love about it. The orange stitching adds the perfect amount of whimsy. Can't wait to see this one come together!

  11. I love what you are doing with UFO!

  12. Beautiful! I would not have thought to do this in a solid color on a neutral background! And yes, I have this pattern, too.


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