Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Friday, September 27, 2013

Grandmother's Choice - a Finished Top

Oh my, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get to the end of this. And, truth to tell, it is not done yet - the top is assembled but I have a few turned seams to fix before it goes to the longarm quilter. At a finished size of 98" x 98" this is a perfect candidate for a longarm machine!
 For the setting I started out months ago with the concept to frame each 8" block in a 1" border of either green or purple thinking I would then just join them as is. But before I got all the blocks made I knew I was not happy with that concept. So sashing would be needed. I wanted to have white be a significant component of my quilt as the New Zealand suffragist colors were green, white and purple. Many times when photos of suffragist marches appeared on the Grandmother's Choice blog the women all wore white dresses and, for that reason, I chose a white dot fabric to represent the white dotted muslin gowns.

Decision making was not yet done however as corner stones would be needed. Should they be green or purple? A compromise was needed and I started with a band of pale purple followed by a band of green, then repeated both bands. My friend Rhonda came to stay when I was in the midst of trying to lay out the blocks and she was a grand help with that. Thanks Rhonda!  She is no doubt glad she did not have to be a part of all the other agonizing that came after that.

For my center block I chose block 15. That week was the one week the story focused on New Zealand with a block titled "Centennial - New Zealand's Victory". In 1993 Queen Elizabeth II created the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal - it hangs from a ribbon of golden yellow bordered by white then finished in purple and I departed slightly from my color scheme to recognize that in my block. Then, to make it special as the focus block, I gave it a different 1" frame.

 Another block near and dear to me was the Seven Pointed Star for Australia, block 29. Having also lived in Australia I wanted to make this representative of that sunburnt country and this more yellowy green fabric seemed like a good choice. What was not so good was having to blend it in with the other greens.

Moving right along, I had purchased the white dotted fabric for the sashes on a whim - I happened to be in the quilt shop on the day it came in and the store owner predicted it would be sold out in a week. Well, she was right. Not knowing how much I would need I asked for 2 yards - let me tell you, I cut those sashing strips with great trepidation as two yards was exactly what I needed and there is only a sliver of maybe an inch left.

And now, what was I going to do about a border? Another friend suggested I go with an inner narrow border of green or purple followed by an outer border repeating the white. I set to and cut a big number of 2" x 1" rectangles to piece that inner border. Although I really do prefer to buy directly from a quilt shop when I had visited all the local stores (at least five) and no-one had more of that white dot I had to purchase three yards online for the outer border. Washed and pressed, it waited patiently while the blocks were all assembled in their neat rows.

I had the top draped over the ironing board and was all set to cut the borders until...I turned and looked and said out loud "nope, that white border will just not do it!" Another new plan needed. The size was now so large that an unpieced border would have been very bland to my eye so I decided to piece it in a number of green fabrics. Some of the chosen ones were used in the blocks and some of the border greens had never actually been cut into for this project. Each one was patiently selected to play nicely with the block it was next to.

Still looking to do something a little more detailed, I fussy cut corners for both the purple inner border and the green outer border. Maybe the secret name for this quilt will be The Fussy Cut Fiend!

My plan for this quilt is to sew white buttons in the center of each of the cornerstones once the quilting has been completed - the buttons will come from my mother's button jar and thus will be the appropriate finishing touch. Thank you to my sister, Kayelle Kiwi, for both parting with the treasures from the jar that has lived with her since our mother passed away in 1997 and mailing them to me.

A name for this quilt will be needed and usually I have settled on a name before a quilt is even half done. This one I am still mulling over - currently I am favoring "Kate Sheppard Had Friends" to honor Kate who was a leader in the NZ suffrage movement.

And it is fitting that I finished my top in September which marks 120 years since women in New Zealand made history when the bill supporting Women's Suffrage was passed on September 19, 1893. The day is known as White Camellia Day named after supporters of votes for women who wore a white camellia. Alas, I could not find a white camellia print fabric but the stylised flowers in the four corners will vaguely recall that aspect.

The entire project has been a great one to be a part of. It has been so much fun working along knowing many others worldwide are doing the same. The history stories, so well researched by Ms Brackman, became a vital part of my Saturday for 49 weeks. The self imposed rush to finish my block and get it posted on the flickr site by the end of Sunday? Suffice to say, that will not be missed.

Thanks for following along with me. What happens next?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's Taking a While

for me to get my Grandmother's Choice top assembled. Things keep getting in the way.

In a week or so my son is going to an Animee convention and he wants to go in character (costume). And he wants to make the costumes himself.  A few weekends ago we spent an afternoon visiting the Op Shops (opportunity/secondhand/charity - call them what you will) for clothing items to use as the base for his costumes. Then we needed to go buy some more supplies at the fabric and craft stores.

I set him up with my spare sewing machine on the dining room table and he has been carefully stitching away. Now keep in mind there is no pattern to work with and I have not even seen a picture of what he is trying to create. However, I have been patiently (I hope) trying to guide him along to achieve the look he is after.
 Here is an action shot of attaching a red trim to the neckline of a white tee shirt. Last night saw the hem updated with red and only after it was on did I suddenly realize that we had not pre-washed that red knit fabric. Today, before we got any further I did the pre-wash and thankfully, no red running dye. So for tonight's activity, the neckline got the red treatment.
One of the stops we made in sourcing costume making supplies was the plumbing aisle at Home Depot. After several times of asking "can I help you" the HD employee cleared off leaving us to giggle about what he would have said had we told him the real truth about our "plumbing problem".

That dark blue fabric still on the bolt has yet to be converted into a hooded cape. I did keep suggesting we buy a pattern for that but I was firmly told "no". So I eagerly wait to see how that item is going to turn out!

In the meantime I am diligently stitching away getting my blocks together into a top. That's three yards of white fabric for the borders and three yards of chartreuse fabric (in the wide backing width) for the backing. Alas, this project, despite my best intentions to keep the size under control, has turned into a 98" x 98" (projected) finished size.

Just remind me next time that smaller is better!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Month 9 - The Hands of Strangers

What with Grandmother's Choice finishing some weeks back I had to give myself a refresher course in how to add my block photo to the flickr site on the Civil War blog. After a couple of false starts, I believe I had success.

For month 9 our Sarah is agonizing over the thought of strangers, and even worse, Union strangers, living in her beloved home and touching her things.

 I too agonized, ever so slightly, with this block. As shown on the Civil War blog, Ms Brackman divided only the center square meaning to symbolize the break in the Morgan family life. Since we already know Sarah never does return to her home I decided to "break" my block entirely in two. Somehow it seems more pleasing to my eye this way.

And you know I can't resist having a little fun with staging my block for a photo shoot. It's a hot day and I hesitated to go outside and accost strangers to photograph their hands. Instead I had a little scissor therapy session after tracing some hands. And if I don't tell you who they belong to, why, they become the hands of strangers don't they! And they all want to get their hand onto my block.

Alright, enough fun, I need to get back to my sashing sewing for Grandmother's choice.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Serendipity and Inspiration

You're likely wondering if I have turned off my sewing machine and thrown the dust cover over it as I have not posted in some weeks.  The answer is, no, I am still stitching away as I work towards getting all my Grandmother's Choice blocks set together.

A few weeks ago I discovered that a friend has just completed a small oil painting of the lavender fields in Provence. As you know I have been in a green and purple mood for a year or so and when I saw the painting I thought she must have painted it specially for me! Of course, she did not, but I decided I would buy it as I loved it. Serendipity you see.

I will need to find a better frame for the painting but I popped it into this frame I already had so I could photograph it with some of my Grandmother's Choice blocks.

Aside from the obvious attraction of the colors a lavender bush has a particular poignant memory for me. My Grandmother, who moved houses several times in her older years, loved lavender and always planted a bush in the garden of her latest house. In her memory I have been doing the same thing. At 5pm it is really still too bright for a good photo of some of my lavender but I hoped this scene might make up for fewer quilt photos!

But the way the colors in Begona's painting went so well with my quilt made me think of what fun it would be to make a quilt inspired by some of my other paintings. Sadly, unless I can find a load of extra time, I don't see that idea coming to fruition any time soon! But it is sure a lovely concept to think about. What inspires you to start a quilt?

 This day started off quite cool and I did not get my morning walk in until much later than usual. But that cool start translated into a beautiful day and I decided I could sit outside on the deck and get some more of the binding done on this quilt while I had my afternoon cup of tea.
A small group I'm in make quilts to give to wounded military men and women and this is one almost ready to donate.

Okay, I better get back to cutting my sashing cornerstones. There will be another break from the green, purple and white tomorrow as, it being the first Saturday of the month, a new Dixie Diary block will be posted and that needs me to be in the pink and grey mood.