Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Block 18 - Cheyenne - Wyoming Firsts

It is a dull overcast day on which we were promised snow; an altogether good day to stay in my sewing room and stitch up my block promptly.

I have been waiting and waiting to use this green and white fabric and this morning I was determined this was the day even if this was not necessarily the best block to feature it in.

Again we have a block that can change dramatically depending on fabric choices and placements. Those pairs of squares on the outer edges bothered me hence my decision to use very similar fabrics to make them less obvious. Using that green and white in the center was always going to make this a dramatic block so I decided to keep it simple by not using too many competing fabrics.

My plan had been to take a photo outdoors with a snowy background but really the snow turned out to be very minimal. Instead I thought I might pose the block with the matching flowers and looked over by the oriental gentleman. When we lived in Melbourne we went several times to Ballarat and Bendigo which were gold-rush towns that attracted Chinese migrants to work in the goldfields. On one of those trips I bought this garden statue in Bendigo. The story that goes with today's block mentions Esther Hobart Morris who traveled to Wyoming inspired by the gold-rush.

And now, having finished my GC block in good time, I will carry on with making the last 28 flying geese units that I need for the border of Strawberries and Cream.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Block 17 Mother's Delight - Christabel Pankhurst

While this mother was sewing her block yesterday she was distracted by the delightful creations being worked on in the kitchen where her sons were working together to make a couple of cookie recipes. Every now and then I needed to go and give an opinion or advice about how to proceed.

As a result it was after dark before the block got finished and, again, I ran into photographing difficulties. The background fabric I use in all the blocks is not an easy one to photograph; it often shows poorly. In the bright light of today I have spent a few minutes with the camera to see if I can achieve a better result.

 The block this week will have made the beginners in the group feel very challenged. I decided to make templates using the blockbase pattern which further added to the time it took to get the block finished. I see on the flickr page that several people created a paper foundation pieced pattern and used that method although I'm not sure if it would have been much quicker or more accurate.

I'm showing you the result of the baking - M & M cookie slice on the plate and chocolate cherry cordials in the cookie tin. Before I can have a turn baking it seems there will need to be another trip to the supermarket to replenish ingredients.  The tree is what I won at our quilt guild holiday potluck party by sitting in the chair with the hidden sticker.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Block 16 Capital T - Sarah Pellet

Hooray, it is a beautiful day outside and I am home during the day to not only make my block but take it's photos. On the down side I just got a message from my internet provider to say they are having difficulties so we'll see if I can actually post this!

Temperance meetings were, apparently, how some women gained confidence in public speaking. They took this experience with them to the suffrage movement. As we progress through this project many of us are gaining confidence in such as fussy cutting and careful stitching to achieve points and accuracy in block sizes. Now this is not going to change the world like our foremothers did but, hey, anything that improves my skills is rewarding.

When thinking about the audiences that Sarah Pellet and her temperance sisters were addressing I concluded that it was likely to most often be a group of men she faced. Taking inspiration from that I wanted to use fabrics that looked more masculine especially for that center square. This argyle pattern seemed to fit the need although it is a little disappointing that it is not printed square on the fabric but close enough was going to be good enough for me today!

Also today I wanted to acknowledge how my quilt sisters help me. Firstly I wanted to show you how I use Jo Morton's clipping trick on the reverse side to help the block lay flatter and let the seam allowances go in the direction they want to go. Then I also want to thank Rebecca and Gayle for listening to me whine about how difficult it is to sew seams when both seam allowances go in the same direction (I am challenged with this on my Strawberries and Cream project). Rebecca told me that she sometimes resorts to using the "height compensating tool" when stitching this type of a seam. When I said I didn't think I had seen that tool in my accessory case Gayle kindly lent me hers declaring that she never uses it. Of course when I checked all the way in the back of a drawer that does not pull out easily from the accessory case I found I did in fact have one of these gadgets. And it really does help!

Thank you quilt sisters, your advice helped me on the block this week.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Block 15 - Centennial - New Zealand's Victory

Hooray! After 14 weeks of quietly waiting and making blocks this week's block is an acknowledgement of the history making suffragettes in my native New Zealand who were the very first to win the right to vote.

But before I get onto my block I just want to say I felt more than a little pressure this week. Firstly, since the block was about New Zealand I couldn't just whip up something without too much thought. But secondly, gee, in my neck of the woods it is December and my calendar is chockablock and I wondered how so many others got their blocks made and posted so promptly.

On Saturday morning I got a message from kayellekiwi pointing out that I had been given a great opportunity this week - the stamp shown in the Barabara Brackman blog posting was the ideal color for my own color scheme. But alas, the center square for block 15 is on point and turning the stamp image on point would not look right.

Since the title of the block is Centennial I felt it would be appropriate to celebrate just that, the centennial. Thus I looked to the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal commissioned by Her Majesty The Queen for design inspiration. I chose to try to replicate the ribbon design in the rectangles and in the center square to go bold and state New Zealand in a circle to represent the medal shape. I wish I had a fabric with a camellia flower but, to date, that still eludes me.

With the words New Zealand already appearing on the block it seemed a good week to give the map a rest. Instead I am showing artifacts which demonstrate that I can vote.

Don't peer too closely at your monitor - trying to sew those white and golden yellow stripes at 3/16" wide was surely testing my abilities. Oh, I forgot to mention that I decided to give myself permission to break my own color rule for this block and use the realistic golden yellow. Next week I'll return to my normal programming and keep to the chartreuse, red-violet and white color scheme.

Maybe next Saturday and Sunday will be a little less hectic and allow me to get to my block in a more timely fashion. Of course I may have to at least start to write Christmas cards by then. Oh well, it's worth hoping!

p.s I was a little disappointed in the link Ms Brackman provided showing "a quilt made by a native New Zealander". Firstly, the quilt is made by someone in the Cook Islands - that is similar to choosing to show something made by someone in Puerto Rico and pass it off as representative of a quilt made by someone in the USA. Secondly, there are many, many excellent quilters in New Zealand who make outstanding quilts and I am sad that a better choice was not made to depict a New Zealand quilt.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Block 14 - Bride's Knot - Invisible Women

Yes, I have felt quite invisible with this week's block! I had a problem getting it loaded on the flickr site which was finally resolved when I signed in with another account. That gremlin who lives in my computer and pops up from time to time to challenge me has been quite active this week!

But's the block:

 In making my fabric selections I first thought of using a fabric with circles on it to represent wedding rings. But it turned out the fabric I was thinking of did not really work. The one I then chose for right in the center is because that motif reminds me of old settings for engagement rings.

The churn dash block is a long time favorite of mine but depending on how you place your colors you can make the block look quite different. In looking back at last weeks photo I took of the earlier blocks together I decided to change those corner triangles so as not to keep repeating the placement.  What is my so called background fabric (the one I use in every block) usually appears on the corners so I sought to reverse that placement. Thus the medium green essentially becomes the background this week. And now I don't really see this as being a churn dash block.

 This ring is not what I call old but it does share a similar shape with that central motif.

And finally, I am back to using the map to stage my blocks. I became a bride in England so I have added in that page from the atlas. For New Zealand I pinpoint Martinborough where my mother became a bride and the Otago region where my grandmother became a bride. And I have placed my bridal rings along with my mother's ruby wedding ring on my block.

Alas, it was another case of having to go in the closet for the photos this week.