Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Border decisions

I haven't posted in over a week, unusual for me really but I am suffering from a case of blogger fright. Think stage fright and relate it to blogging and that will just about sum it up without going into detail.
It's my own fault, I've been reading other blogs that have bought up some provocative issues surrounding blogging and quilting. I'm not going to join the discussions and I gave myself a good talking to and I think I'm cured.

I have been busting to get back to some red and green applique so picked this very simple Cherry Tree block as a quick fix.
I did get a dark red border put on the Baltimore style quilt so that I could measure and get to drawing up the border design. The red will be repeated before the binding again.
It's a long process for me to draw up a border, it doesn't come easily to me because I'm impatient and it takes time. I know a lot of you were interested to know what ideas I have so here are some initial drawings.

I wanted an urn in the middle of the top and bottom border with a running vine and put together this one but I'm still debating that and could go to the other extreme and keep it super simple. I only draw half the border since that can be flipped for the other side.
I knew I wanted  to feature roses from some of the blocks and for it not be too heavy with applique. I also knew I wanted some space to feature some feather quilting and I've allowed space for that. You might be able to make out the light pencil line above the valley of the vine that will accommodate the feather on top, there will be more in the bottom edge of the border too..
Trying to make the elements go around the corner took a bit of thinking but this will most likely do. I have a plan to have the top two corners finish differently to the bottom two so I have yet to draw those out to make sure it works.
I want to say a big thank you for all the positive comments and amazing compliments I got on my last post.
I feel very humbled and fortunate to have had such amazing encouragement from other blogger friends. If it wasn't for the encouragement, I'm sure the current project would have stayed in a drawer.
Happy stitching, Janet

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Doing the happy dance here after getting all my blocks together. The fabrics I've used are not reproduction, there could be all sorts in it but I love the colours, especially the punches of blue.
Most of the block patterns are from books by Elly Sienkiewicz except for a few I drew myself using block elements from the books.
I was very deliberate in setting the blocks as they often did with the antique Baltimore's. There is the pattern of a Greek cross formed by the urn in the middle with the baskets and then because I'm so funny about settings, I put the round wreaths in the corners. From that point on, I tried to balance the blocks out somewhat.
I had to attend to a few finishing touches on some blocks like the book getting the album label.
Family names were also inked on various blocks.
This one below is inked with my name and a sentiment that I hope will be true when I'm long gone. 
I've been thinking about the borders now and I would love to make a start on the drawing before too much longer.
I wish all of you who celebrate Easter to have a happy one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The last block.

Last week went by in a blur getting block #25 stitched.. I even burnt the midnight oil one night. It needs a little fix up after washing the block revealed  that the reverse applique on the four buds near the top were not up to scratch. There was so little seam allowance that threads are whispering in the breeze. I'm going to replace those for a lighter green and do one larger reverse applique in the middle. There's a little inking to go on as well.
The block is actually a redo. The one below is the reject and was done way back about the mid 90's when I was just a baby appliquer. I had a colour run and soaked the block in a solution which worked but it bleached out the background.
The applique method I first learnt to do was to thread baste the pieces onto  paper and cut the background out to remove the paper. Messy and time consuming.
This is what the back looks like now that I do needleturn, much better.
Hopefully this week I can find the time to finish all the little details on the blocks and get them sewn together, ooh, excitement!

Monday, April 11, 2011


It's drummed into quilters to add labels to quilts they make, I don't always succeed in doing that but years ago I got interested in making labels with the micron permanent pens. I was full of good intentions and I have used a few. I have some left which I found recently. Now I'm more likely to just write on the quilt backing or spit something out of the computer because I've got lazy.
Some of the drawings got a bit over the top.
Some were simpler, it was fun to do but it's not what I'm into anymore.
Doing the drawing all those years ago has given me the confidence I need to do some inking on my Baltimore blocks before they all get joined together. The inking on this block is from a Susan Mckelvey stamp using a Fabrico ink pad . I'll add a word or something to the banner later.
This one is traced from one of the Baltimore books.
The  calligraphy bird is traced from a free clip art site but simplified a little.
There are two blocks featuring cherubs, a  favourite of my daughter so they got added. This one is from free clip art and re sized. She'll get the quilt eventually.
These cherubs I got off some old wrapping paper. I traced the outline and did some shading with dots.
I know it would have been smart to do inking before the applique but I didn't know what I wanted to put on and I did pay for it. I had to replace one block because I put the wrong birth date on.
I'll just be adding some names or something and then that part is all done.
I suppose I'd better not put off making that last block any longer. I'll be back when that's done.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The blinkers are back.

I think I found my blinkers! I'm nearly at the end of the Baltimore blocks, this one is the latest. It's one of my favourites, possibly because of the colours and the fact that it's asymmetrical. I did change it a bit from the pattern which had all the green done in one piece of fabric. I separated the leaves for a more precise look that was simpler to stitch. One more block to go and that will be twenty five done.
The only other thing I've been working on is the border quilting for the double wedding ring. It takes a long time to go around each piece of applique and then echo quilt it. I'm just tackling the inside part of the borders for now.
I dug out my pattern because I'd forgotten how wide the border needs to be. I love my extra large square ruler for squaring up the corners. I've marked a line 8" from the edge of the rings so that I don't have to do more quilting than necessary. I'm sure it'll distort and I'll have to mark again down the track to square and block it.

There's not much else going on since these two are taking all my time at the moment. I feel bad that I haven't been around blog land much in the last couple of weeks to do much visiting. My apologies, the reason is that I've had headaches every day for that length of time and I can't seem to shake them.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Project rotation

I couldn't be happier with the cornucopia. I took out the orange and turned it into a nashi pear and toned down the colours of one of the other fruits. It could be a peach now. As long as they kinda look like fruit, I'm happy and the colours go with my other blocks. I have butterflies added to quite a few blocks so added one to this as well. Onto the next one soon.
When I don't have any applique prepped, I'll sometimes break out and do something really different for a change.A stitchery block is a nice change.
My sewing room is so trashed, I left this block off the last lot I blogged about. It was buried under a pile of stuff.
I just had to say that so you don't think I do without sleep and stitch all night to get so much done.
I've been having a bit of ufo guilt lately, I seem to bounce from one thing to another. It's good for blogging but it's starting to bother me a bit. I used to love the project rotation, I think it adds variety and stops me burning out. At times like this I wish I was one of those quilters that just had three projects going at any one time. One to piece, one to applique and one to quilt. I'll be thinking about it, at this rate I'll not get a finish any time soon.