Monday, December 31, 2012

Searching for Sunshine

It's been a busy few days here since Christmas. We had a lovely couple of days catching up with family and friends over lots of great food. The weather then took a turn affording me the perfect excuse to hit the sewing room. I wound up sewing just the sunshine I was seeking.
Last month I bought this wonderful Valori Wells fabric, planning that it would be the main feature of a quilt for one of my daughter's friends who is heading off to do a Fine Arts degree.
However quilts do seem to have a mind of their own in my experience. I've been looking at various modern quilt sites to find some ideas for some quick quilts as there are a couple I want to make for close friends who are heading away to University over the next few months. I really liked the Lemon Squares quilt pattern by Faith on Fresh Lemons blog and decided this would be just the thing - bright, clean and speaking of sunshine.  

It sewed up quickly and best of all almost all of it came straight out of my stash with only some additional white fabrics needed to add to what I had.

 So the focus fabric was re-purposed as a border,

once the central blocks had been framed by a thin border of pencils, designed by Kaffe Fassett. Not only were their colours just right but of course it was a natural choice of fabric for someone embarking on Fine Arts.

This rather vibrant print will be the backing - I picked it out for the colours. They compliment the front well. The funny thing is that the more I look at it the more certain I am that I've seen this fabric before in the home of the very person who will soon own this quilt - I'm almost certain her mother has bought this fabric and shown it to me.

As I say, quilts do seem to have a mind of their own.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you all.
Let's look forward to lots more creativity and colour in the year ahead.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hope and Christmas Wishes

I didn't really show you the label on our collaborative quilt but have been told that I should talk about what my daughter wrote on the quilt, and the hopes that went with them. The quilt recipient is one of my daughter's team mates from Waka Ama, which is a sport they both love, of Maori outrigger canoeing.

My daughter chose two whakatauki, traditional Maori proverbs, to use on the label which carried all her hopes for her friend.

He toka tu moana, ara he toa rongonui
Your strength is like a rock that stands in raging water - this affirms an individual's strength and courage.
He taru kahika
Walk on, as it is only summer rain falling - It is only a small adversity, so don't let it be a hindrance.

I think she picked particularly well, but I will admit that I am a rather biased mother, as we all tend to be.

My annual activity has been reaching fever pitch - I've been making my yearly Christmas decorations for friends. I know we all do it, but I do wonder why I don't start these earlier - one of the great imponderables. Even with the best intentions I'm sure I'll repeat the exercise again next year.

Four years ago I made black hands - it was not long after my dear friend Denys had died and I had no cheery words that year to embroider on decorations so I chose hands instead. One of my friends gave them the nick name "the hands of death" so this year I decided it was time to make some more with a more cheery disposition to keep them company.

I'm really keen on them - especially the one's with tatting and linen buttons on them. I will be making sure that I keep one of these back for myself. They are of course part of my continuing series of 101 things to do with an old doiley!

So the Christmas tree is up, most of the presents have been wrapped and work has finally ceased for the year. I'm starting to feel that the end of year wind down is almost upon us.

Best wishes to you all for a peaceful and happy time this holiday season, full of joy and hope.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Collaborative Quilting

I'm pleased to be able to tell you that our guest Morepork eventually left us and my daughter and I were then able to get onto the new project that had been our plan. One of her friends is currently having chemo so of course we decided that a quick collaborative quilt was in order to cheer her up. We couldn't get started until her end of year exams were over and time pressure has been on us to get it done.

We picked a pattern by Valori Wells called Olive Rose which is one of her free patterns available on her blog. It uses some large scale fabrics in very big pieces so goes together quickly and looks effective. The quilt is 60 x 80 inches.

Of course I didn't have any of the fabrics Valori had designed for the project but pulled together some that we felt worked well together and that my daughter was certain would appeal to the eventual owner.

My job was to cut the fabrics and to plan layout in consultation with my daughter, while she pieced it together. This basically took a couple of afternoons - quick by any measure.

I then gave her a drawing of what I thought the back could look like with some fabrics we had at hand - this is what I gave her

and this is what she turned it into. Nothing shows our differences more. I would have just started piecing and kept going until it was big enough - she worked out the measurements of all the required pieces so I could cut them. She has a strong maths background - mine is rudimentary.... need I say more!

Of course one of the best parts of working together like this was that I could contract out the bits I don't enjoy - like the pinning!

Here's her masterpiece of a back, complete with label.

And here's a small view of the quilt complete with binding. I did most of the quilting in the interests of a speedy finish.

We delivered off the quilt on Monday and the owner was delighted. She has spent much time over recent years telling me how much she likes my quilts - and it clearly paid off as a strategy. It was lovely to see her smiling and with it wrapped around her shoulders.

And that's what makes quilting so rewarding! I have a feeling this won't be the last of our collaborative ventures but I sincerely hope it's the last quilt I make for a friend facing chemo. I know I've said this before but I can only hope not to have to repeat myself. Hope is a powerful emotion, so who knows - maybe this time it will work.