Flying Geese and Feathers

I’m still working with that rainbow assortment of fabrics! This time I wanted to try the rainbow progression of flying geese with an off white background. I just love the clean look that resulted.

The quilt top was incredibly quick and easy to assemble, with just one column of 21 flying geese, and several large strips of varying off-whites. Once completed I realized the large expanses of off-white would be difficult to quilt, with no blocks for reference. So I took it to Sew Etc. in Burlington, where I could rent a longarm machine, and also get a great deal of help, in long arm quilting it myself. (Thanks Jane!)

Don’t you just love the feather design? It goes beautifully with the geese, and adds a gorgeous texture to the final product. I used a higher loft batting, along with this fairly dense quilting design, to enhance the texture since the quilt itself is so plain.

The binding is scrappy – a mix of the off whites from the top.

I think for my next quilting project, I’ll put aside the rainbow fabrics and work on something a little different. I have two ideas in mind: a kantha baby blanket made from cotton double gauze, and a low contrast quilt using half-square triangles where half of each triangle is an off white, and the other half a low-contrast coordinating gentle print.


My inspiration for this quilt design was a photograph of Shibuya Crossing (the world’s busiest intersection) in the rain. Initially, I planned to put the crosswalk strips on an angle, but when I laid out the actual strips, it just didn’t look good, so ended up setting them straight.

You may recognize the colourful fabric strips from some of my other quilt designs. Isn’t it a fabulous, bright mix? This fabric selection just keeps on giving; I still have a big stack to use in another project.

I used 9 by 2 inch strips of my rainbow selection, interspersed with off-white. I think a scrappy mix of off-whites would also look great in this design, and definitely a black or grey background would look great.

I quilted it first with the large divided circles which are meant to represent umbrellas, then filled in between the umbrellas with small circles to represent rain. Overall, I like the resulting texture.

I have a great idea for another Crosswalk quilt. The strips and background would look like the album cover for Abbey Road, then outlines of John, Paul, George and Ringo could be quilted on. Wouldn’t that be fun? Maybe next time.

Truchet Tiles Cushion

Last fall I attended a workshop led by Betty Calvert about rug designing with Truchet tiles. This cushion is the outcome of that workshop, and was designed by Betty. I love the design, and I’m thrilled with the colour combo. Green and purple together are always pleasing to my eye.

In the late 1600’s, Sebastien Truchet, a French Dominican monk, observed that tiles based on a square split in half diagonally could be combined to form different patterns depending on their layout. This is different from tiles that have a central motif; when combined, those tiles will just yield a repeated motif. This is really interesting for quilters: when you think of the half-square triangle and the many combinations and orientations that result in a huge number of possible patterns, especially when you add colour to the mix.

If you Google “Truchet Tiles” there are actually websites that allow you to play with half-square triangle layouts. I’m going to try this for my next HST based quilting project.

It was great to get out and spend the day hooking and learning, and also fun to hook Betty’s design with a smaller strip than I usually work with, which makes finer detail possible.


Design Challenge: The Four Elements

The last challenge was so much fun, we decided to start another one.

This is another quilting challenge, but with much more creative license. The challenge is to create a quilt that portrays the four elements (earth, water, air, fire).

After some brainstorming, I remembered my extensive collection of Asian fabric panels. This could be a great opportunity to use several of them, with some framing, and maybe a piano key border. The quilting on each panel could be reflective of the element represented.

Can’t wait to get started!

Guest Blog: Night Garden

When threw down the Colourburst Challenge last fall, I had no idea how far it would push me. Black background? Bright colours? Rainbow thread? Never going to happen in my quilts! I didn’t know all the quilting rules in my head until I broke so many of them in my “Night Garden” project.

Knowing the background fabric that my daughter had chosen, I felt I needed something different. Northcott Stonehenge, a perennial favourite fabric line, provided an answer. Choosing nine different fabrics for four bright colour blocks led to ongoing stash searches, one visit to Oakville Sewing Centre and multiple trips to The Hobby Horse in Glen Williams. Who would have thought I could put strawberries, daffodils and butterflies into the same quilt? But the need for so many fabrics led me to risks I wouldn’t normally take.

And for the first time, I made a quilt back that rivaled my quilt top–I couldn’t bear to waste all that beautiful fabric left from the log cabin blocks.

That said, I like my daughter’s finished quilt top slightly more than my own. I find the colour scheme more appealing. I like the charcoal grey background, and the variegated grey thread is very pleasing to the eye. Still, I’m rather proud of my own “breakthrough” quilt. Thanks,, for pushing me to colour outside the lines. My quilting will never be the same!

Quilt Challenge Results: Singin’ in the Rain

As you may recall, in a recent quilt challenge with my mother, we both agreed to create a quilt based on the Colourbust pattern from By the Block. We agreed it would be a queen-size quilt, so knew that the lap-size pattern would need to be adapted. The two of us had an initial meeting which included fabric sharing and discussions about colour scheme.

My quilt, which I named Singin’ in the Rain ( because it reminds me of a rainbow viewed against a stormy sky), uses 4 1/2 inch strips, and includes a 2 inch border of a bright fabric matching each block. I found a fabulous Northcott wide flannel for the backing.

Mom and I met at Sewing Machines Etc. in Burlington, where we spent the day quilting on longarm machines with the expert help of Jane. We hadn’t seen each other’s quilt top beforehand, so the big reveal was fun. Hers is gorgeous ( and the subject of a future guest blog)!

I have to say Mom’s quilt is much less tame than mine, and she also gained points with her beautiful pieced backing. What I love about my quilt is it’s a great size for the double bed in my teenage son’s room, and it’s extra warm with the flannel backing. It’s a nice bright modern look for a teenager’s bedroom. After this experience I found myself vowing to make a large quilt for my own bedroom, because I just love all the overhang.

It was a lot of fun having a challenge with a deadline, and such a treat working together all day on the quilting. Thanks Mom!

Linen Basket

Happy New Year!

I decided to go ahead with a small improvement to the bathroom: a basket to neatly stash soiled handtowels awaiting laundry day.

The resulting basket is a repurposed doll quilt, in response to my quilt-cutting challenge. Very little cutting was necessary; it was mostly folding, like origami, and sewing into place. I used to love making origami boxes when I was a kid, so this was entertaining and easy. It’s great how it stands up on its own without collapsing, and its bottom is pleasingly flat. It’s also handy that it can be tossed in the wash along with its contents. I’d like to experiment with Velcro for a less permanent basket.

I haven’t finished with the quilt-cutting challenge yet; I dug out a large quilt that I never use, and am planning to make a couple of quilted bags from it.

If you are taking up this challenge, I would love to see your pictures.

Design Challenge: cutting a quilt

Although we are still in the midst of the Colourburst challenge, my mother and I had a meeting recently and decided on a second quilt challenge.

The challenge is to transform a quilt, through cutting and sewing, into a different useful object; for instance a piece of clothing, a bag, or an upholstered item.

This is pretty exciting, what’s coming immediately to my mind is folding the quilted fabric so that it becomes a freestanding article. I suspect my mother is planning a quilted jacket.  I’ll have to do something outstanding to compete with Mom, and I also want to keep my plans secret before the unveiling.

The two of us didn’t set a deadline, but I propose February 28, 2018. If anyone has some good ideas, or would like to join in the challenge, let me know. I’ll post pictures at the beginning of March.

Grey Wolf Baby Quilt

This quilt was done as a commission, which is unusual for me. My client asked for a baby quilt for a boy in shades of grey with a wolf motif.

For my birthday I received a selection of gorgeous grey fabrics that have related feather designs. I’m working on a lap quilt using these fabrics but decided to set some aside for the commissioned project.

I used a hit and miss design for the blocks with 3 inch by 6 inch rectangles arranged randomly. The quilt is 7 blocks by 16 in total. I searched the internet for a one line wolf image to use for some of the blocks, then drew the design freehand on a sheet of paper and transferred it to the quilt top using a temporary light box and a gel pen designed specifically for marking quilts.

I quite enjoyed quilting over the lines to create the 7 wolves; I think they look beautiful.

Also for my birthday I received the book East Meets West Quilts by Patricia Belyea. In the book I read about the concept of “The Unexpected Visitor” (a surprise visitor that makes the party even better than the hostess planned) in quilting. It’s something I have done intuitively in quilt design before, but I tried to incorporate an unexpected visitor consciously this time. Can you find it?

OK, I’d better tell you – it’s the plain very dark grey blocks, there are just four of them, and I really like they way they offset the other coordinated fabrics. I thought of doing something more wild and exciting (lime green is my excitement go-to) ; maybe next time!

I chose a scrappy binding, and a bright one-piece backing with a large-scale grey floral to ensure the quilt is lively as well as having an overall calming effect.

Springtime Baby Blanket

I took a weaving class at the Art Gallery of Burlington, in between getting ready for various Christmas bazaars, as well as my own family Christmas. It seems like forever since I completed a large project.

I chose to weave the “Springtime” pattern from Tom Knisely’s book “Handwoven Baby Blankets“, but chose my own colours at Camilla Valley Farm. Don’t you just love the peacock against the dark purple?

The baby blanket is woven in 4/8 cotton, and is a plain weave that is more about exciting colour than complex structure. It’s a lovely weight and drape, and of course very washable and durable. A good project to build my confidence on the four shaft loom.

Our Christmas theme this year is “Second Hand or Handmade”, so this is great! I ended up with three beautiful handwoven baby blankets: one for my grandson, and one for each of my two nephews born earlier this year.