Showing posts with label My Country House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Country House. Show all posts

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Country Progress

Here is the pony from Month 8 of Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM for The Quilt Show, My Country House. Mine is pretty much the same as Lynette's design, I just made the legs a little thicker and the stomach a little fatter so she looks more like a pony than a horse. When you search for pony photos online, they all look extremely well fed!

(And if you somehow haven't seen those Scottish ponies in their cardigans, you should definitely have a look here.)

In addition to all the individual blocks that I've been showing, last month I also managed to sew the postage stamp border around the centre house block:

Those are 3/4" stamps, because my quilt is 3/4 scale! There still need to be hearts appliqued into the dark green squares, and the flowering vine appliqued onto the pale yellow border. And the blue bird is still missing from the right chimney.

Even with lots left to do, it was time to finalize the layout so I can finish all the details. So, here it is all pinned up on my design wall:

It's coming along! The squirrel and the owl applique blocks in the top row both have leaves that will overlap the adjacent blocks, so those are not finished yet. And the Month 4 strip across the bottom is completely missing.

But, I don't feel too far behind. Half the flags for the final Month 12 border are already done. Plus, wool applique really is a lot faster than needleturn. And, it makes a relaxing break from working on the machine. So, that is what I'm going to do today! My half square triangles for Week 1 of Allietare are now half done, and I feel comfortable taking a day off. I'll get back to them tomorrow.

So, it's more slow stitching this Sunday, and I'm linking up to Kathy's Quilts again this week. Plus, I'll link up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times tomorrow. Happy stitching!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Country Beehive

Until now, I have been pretty much sticking to the script on Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM, My Country House. But for Month 9, Lynette's design for the beehive has two flowers on the same stem, very close to the right edge of the block. Since I am using thick wool felt for those flowers, I would have had to sew them on after joining the block if I kept to the design.

So, I used the same elements in a different layout:

The beehive fabric is the same as the house fabric in the centre block. I thought it would be interesting to echo the same layout as the house block, using the flowers the same as the trees:

However, if you think about the perspective in the beehive block, with the stems behind the horizon, suddenly they look about twelve feet tall. Truthfully, they are reminding me of the Martians in the original War of the Worlds movie:

At around 0:36 you'll see the resemblance!

But, I'm not doing it again. I think once the block is sewn into the whole quilt, and not standing alone, it will be less obvious.

Plus, I'm really happy with how cute the bee is:

I have a few more bees cut out, to scatter around the rest of the quilt. So, on I go! The last three applique blocks are all nearly done, with a just a few embroidered details left. They will make a nice break from the heavy sewing with Allietare!

It is a long time since I linked up with Slow Sunday Stitching, so it will be fun to see what they are all up to over there. Check it out to see for yourself!

And, how do you like my changes to my blog layout? Now it's a little wider, the text is larger, and there's room for bigger photos. Of course, I changed the header photo too. If it's a problem for anyone, please let me know!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Country House Blocks

The last four pieced blocks for the TQS 2015 BOM, My Country House by Lynette Anderson, are finally done! Yes, I've been distracted by various new projects, but they were also a little picky to put together.

The original blocks finish at 9" square, but my 3/4 scale blocks finish at 6 3/4" square, and the math starts to get complicated. So I decided to foundation paper piece all the outside units.

I drafted my own foundations on graph paper at the original 3" finished size, and then used the photocopier to reduce them to 75%, which is 3/4 scale.

I don't know why my cutting mat always seems to be upside down!

Anyway, then I trimmed the units, removed the papers, and put the rest of the block together like a normal nine patch.

This block is called Garden Path. The white diamond is normally continuous around the block, but I deliberately broke it up. My hope is to balance these pieced blocks with the applique blocks, so I don't want the piecing to be too dominant.  We'll see soon if I was successful with that!

Truthfully, I was running out of ideas at this point, but I thought it might be interesting to have a block that is all background fabrics. It looks a bit like a swampy pond to me!

And, here are all four together. If you missed the first nine, you can find them here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Country Cat

Here's a nice, peaceful cat, just minding his own business.

Or is he?

This is the third applique block from Lynette Anderson's My Country House. Another ambiguous one!

In Anderson's design the cat is looking a little away from the bird. In my experience, when a cat suddenly turns his back to wash an itch, that is when he is deciding if today is the day that he will finally eat you.

So I thought it might be friendlier if the cat was turned towards the bird. What do you think?

Cats always seem to have an ulterior motive.

In the photo you can also see my trusty bamboo background fabric, and the dark pink flowers are a weed that pops up between our patio stones every summer. This spray hung over my "photo shoot" in a convenient way.

Ten days ago it was still hot and humid outside when I photographed the first two Country Critter blocks. This morning I had to put on an extra fleecy layer, because it was only 8 C (46 F). Suddenly I'm in the mood for warm, cozy projects! (And carbohydrates...)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Country Critters

I apologize, I was unable to resist that title!

Here are the first two applique blocks from the 2015 BOM for The Quilt Show, Lynette Anderson's My Country House. Month 5 was called "Naughty Fox," but mine is a grey coyote instead:

A couple of winters ago we had a coyote right here in our suburban backyard. We have foxes too, but design-wise I prefer the silver grey coyote. Coyotes are controversial here in Toronto, but the consensus is that they are here to stay. Anderson's quilt block is a little ambiguous. Are the chicken and coyote friends? Or is the chicken chasing the coyote away?

Month 6 is "Rabbit Love:"

Since my version is 3/4 scale, and all the critters are felted wool, I have been stripping down some of the details in each block. The original design has an embroidered heart on one of the rabbits. I stitched it, but then took it out again. It felt cluttered, maybe due to the busy, aqua rose background fabric. I love that fabric! I remember buying a lot of it for almost nothing in the 90s, at the same time that I bought all the pink and yellow fabrics for Circa 1998. "That will be useful," I thought. But I never thought it would take this long to use it!

But anyway, since the background is so strong I decided to fill in the leaves so they would show up from a distance:

Mary Corbet posted her video for Raised Fishbone Stitch a while ago, and I have been looking for a chance to try it ever since. It is fun and not hard to do, although I probably should have used a hoop. I kept the stitches a little separated since the fabric is lightweight, and because I wanted to make the whole leaf with one length of floss (almost a yard -- 90 cm).

Wool applique really is addictive, and I have enjoyed making these blocks. They were only a couple of days each. That's a good thing, since there is still much more to do!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Summer Dreams

aka Dreaming in Colour

Doesn't that block look like the very definition of dreaming in colour? I chose a "high summer" colour scheme for my version of Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM, My Country House. So I guess it was natural that I gravitated back to it during my summer break. I'll tell you more about my break next week, but right now I thought I'd slide in just one post before the long weekend.

You may remember the centre block:

After a couple of inner borders (still to do), the design has 13 pieced blocks and 7 applique blocks. I planned all the piecing in advance, and one day ironed and cut all the fabric in one fell swoop. For me, that's just easier and less confusing than ironing and cutting the same fabric multiple times.

My goal was to make each block as interesting and unique as possible, and to see how many "looks" I could get from the same designs. This is the second churn dash:

One light, one dark, but actually a similar idea with the negative space, I've realized. Still, I think it will take the viewer a few moments to realize they are the same block.

Despite all my plans, somehow I still ended up with two red Ohio Stars:

For Month 5, Lynette Anderson made this Golden Gate block:

I changed the placement of fabrics to make them look more like Shoofly blocks:

Doesn't look like the same block, does it? In general, I changed the blocks to make the main motif less dominant. Because I used such bright colours, I felt the pieced blocks were in danger of dwarfing the applique blocks. We'll see in a month or so if my plan worked!

Anderson's Month 6 block was Night Vision:

This is nice and balanced in her subtle colour palette, but I really struggled to make it work in mine. Finally I decided to replace it all together:

I've been seeing these Rolling Stone blocks everywhere (Lori Holt calls them "sunflowers"), and they fit with the same 3 x 3 construction that Anderson uses, so I went for it.

I'm not sure of the name of this last block, because it hasn't been officially released yet. But, after playing with it for a while I found a star shape in the centre, so I'm calling it Found Star for now:

It's like playing with crayons. :D

Here's all nine:

Just four left now. Have a great long weekend, if you're having one, and I'll be back next week!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Country House Landscaping

Gosh, I see it is almost two months since I last showed this block! It's the centre block for Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM, My Country House. I had to re-sew the roof seam on the machine before I could applique the trees. "I'll just wait until I have white thread in the machine," I thought. Did that happen? No. Finally I threaded the white thread specifically for that one seam. It only takes a minute -- silly, isn't it?

Anyway, it gave me lots of time to mull over the width of the strips for the trees. In the pattern the trees are a little Christmas-y, with stars at the top and an evergreen shape. The tree trunks are thicker than the branches. My version is smaller at 3/4 scale, decidedly summery, and I knew I wanted to change the tree shape and put leaves all the way around the top. Finally I decided to make all the stems everywhere on the quilt the same 1/4" size, using the Clover 1/4" bias tape maker. I like the feathery look to the trees. Plus, with the smaller scale I think consistency with the stems will be cleaner, and help to tie the whole quilt together.

The stems started out pretty wild...

...but they were soon pruned down to size. The leaves are big chunky detached chain stitches, done with four strands of floss, two medium and two light green. When you compare this with the first photo, you can see other changes as well. The doorknob was done in padded satin stitch:

While I was sewing the doorknob, the window above the door started to look too empty. As an experiment, I filled the space with the same motif as the gingerbread along the eaves. It seems like the obvious choice now that it's done, doesn't it?

But after that, the original gingerbread along the eaves looked very dingy, and I became convinced that I had used a different, less white, thread. After another day or so of dithering, I took out the original stitching. The new gingerbread was stitched with four strands of floss instead of the original two strands, and fewer "spokes" in the wheel:

I think it is better. With the heavier thread I thought the colonial knots in the original would be too much. Now that I am looking at the photos, though, the knots looked pretty good, so I may still try them. Without the knots, I did have to add an extra red brick on either side to fill the empty space.

The felted wool sheep were the last addition. Two of them are peacefully munching the daisies:

And the one on the far left is looking up... the big blue chicken which will sit on the right chimney. But, the chicken will overlap the top seam, so it is still on hold.

With the trees for landscaping, and the sheep as landscapers, I think the block has really come to life. Given that I started this block on January 2, I am glad to have it done!

Monday, March 30, 2015

MCH Month 3 Finished

Probably for the first time ever, I have finished a block in the same month that it was released! This is Month 3 of Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM, My Country House. Of course it helps that it was the easiest month so far, and I simplified it further:

Instead of piecing the heart, I just fussy cut it whole from the same red fabric that I used for the house door in Month 1.

I've had the stems sewn down for over two weeks, but then I waffled quite a bit about how to sew down the hexie flowers. Click the photo to see it larger:

I pieced the flowers with 100 wt silk thread, which is completely invisible. But it felt wrong to use the same invisible thread to applique them down. So I had three options:

  1. Sew down the flowers invisibly with the 100 wt silk.
  2. Use cotton thread for the applique, same as the stems and heart. But, should I then change colours for the coral and orange hexagons?
  3. Use perle cotton and a running stitch for the applique, same as I did for Jacks and Cats. But what colour should that be? Yellow, orange, coral, or even black?

I do not believe that an invisible applique stitch is the only right way to applique. Rather, I think it depends on the type of project and how it will be used. In this case there will be a lot of wool applique, which I like to whip stitch down with a single thread of embroidery floss. And I appliqued the stems with cotton and a regular, visible applique stitch, so they would relate to the leaves.

Finally I chose to use pink perle cotton and a running stitch to applique the flowers. I had some size 8 perle cotton in my stash, so I used that, but ideally I think a narrower size 12 would be better. I think the pink blends well with the coral and orange, and it will look nice as a big stitch quilted detail on the heart, once I get that far.

I also waffled about whether to stitch the vein on the leaves, because that is a big commitment for the 48 leaves still to do in Month 2. But, since I went with the perle cotton on the flowers, I decided it would be a nice touch for the leaves. Fortunately, I had the perfect colour in my stash! It is also size 8, DMC 580 perle cotton, and back stitch. And it didn't take long at all.

At 3/4 scale, I was just able to squeeze the 40.5" block into one width of fabric. I still need to finish the trees on Month 1, and then I'm going to move ahead to all the pieced blocks. There's a postage stamp border between Month 1 and Month 2, and I have the idea that it will be more efficient to make the stamps from the leftovers of the pieced blocks. I'm not sure it really is efficient, but I will try!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Country Flowers

Although I've been quiet for a couple of weeks, I'm still sewing! A little here, a little there. Here's a preview with the two kinds of flowers for the TQS 2015 BOM, My Country House by Lynette Anderson.

The "fried egg" flowers are felted wool from Wooly Lady. I love the colours! Felted wool is my big secret plan to minimize the difficulty, especially with the 3/4 scale, and stay on schedule with this BOM. All the critters will be wool.

The hexies are 1/2", which I decided would be the best fit for my smaller scale version of the quilt. The coral and orange fabrics are long time stash inhabitants, and the yellow and green are both fairly new Quilter's Candy Basics from Connecting Threads. There will be a lot of CT fabrics in this quilt. They seem to match the simple feeling that I want for this project.

Month 3 will probably be the first month to be completely finished. I plan to make good progress this week!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

House Construction Finished

The main building work on the centre house block for Lynette Anderson's My Country House is now complete:

However, as with many contractors, some of the finish work still needs to be done!

After I finished the bricks and the gingerbread, I had to redesign the windows and door to fit into the new smaller space. The new windows are 1" square, and I decided it would be easiest to reverse applique them in. I used a ruler to draw the windows and door right on the fabric, and then thoroughly basted the blue fabric to the back:

On the front I cut open and appliqued one window at a time:

Lake view!

The door was also reverse applique, but I have no progress photos. After I cut away the yellow fabric from the whole arch, I tucked the red door fabric between the yellow and the blue. This left the blue transom window above the door free, and I just appliqued it all down. It was tricky, which is why there are no photos, but I am very pleased with the outcome:

There will be a gold doorknob satin stitched in the centre of the red circle. The white crosses in the windows are back stitched with four strands of embroidery floss. The original design has embroidered flowers in the transom window, but I like it the way it is, so I will skip that.

Any readers who are also making this project will notice that I ignored the instructions and sewed together the whole block before appliquing the chimneys (and the door). This was by design! My plan was to open up the seam just by each chimney and tuck the seam allowance inside. Then I wouldn't have to worry about placement beforehand.

The chimneys are 1/2" square, and I basted everything well before the final stitching:

With the applique finished, I just have to take out the basting, go back to the machine and re-sew the roof seam.

I did the same thing for the door, so the grass seam will also have to be re-sewn. But, the trees still have to be added and tucked under the grass, so for now that is just hand basted closed. The trees are next!

Friday, January 30, 2015

My Country House

3/4 scale -- 13.5" centre block

The new 2015 Block of the Month at The Quilt Show is Lynette Anderson's "My Country House." You can click here to see the whole quilt.

When the quilt was first revealed in late 2014 I was very tempted, but I decided that I already had enough similar projects on the go. Did I really need another? On December 31 I decided that I did. If I reduced it to 3/4 scale, it would make a nice wallhanging. BUT, I decided that I was not going to spend more than one week per month on it, so I would still have time for everything else.

That plan has failed completely, as you can see.

Regular readers know that I always like to give my projects a local flavour. A very typical 19th century brick building here in Southern Ontario is either red bricks with yellow bricks in the corners, or yellow bricks with red bricks in the corners. The library up in Uxbridge is a good example:

Most of the old farmhouses are mainly red with yellow corners, but for design purposes I thought red edges would read better. I made a template for the bricks with 1/4 inch graph paper:

I marked the bricks with erasable pencil:

My plan was to quickly work up the sides with some long legged blanket stitch to represent the bricks. But the fabrics were just too heavy to make neat blanket stitches. Plus the 1/2 inch "legs" were too long. So I have been satin stitching the bricks. For three days already.

I made a similar template with the graph paper for the white gingerbread across the eaves, but I guess I didn't take a picture. The gingerbread is stitched first with blanket stitch half pinwheels, and then I went back and put a Colonial knot at the end of each "spoke."

I know there is a loose thread there, which is driving me nuts. I will see if I can tighten it up without doing it over again.

I lost eight days to flu this month, so I have only spent about five days so far on this project. But there is a lot still to go -- windows and door, chimneys, trees, sheep, funny blue chicken, and the postage stamp border!

But -- don't laugh too hard -- I really believe I can catch up over the next few months!

(Actually, I think I can work ahead, because the piecing is all pretty straightforward. Time will tell!)
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