Diana's new masterpiece, "Robert's Floral Garden" is on the frame now. It is so beautiful. I am doing heirloom quilting on this piece, as you would guess, and there are already many hours of quilting done -- but it's nothing compared to the hours Diana must have spent doing all of the handwork. She does traditional needle-turn hand applique, and there's also quite a bit of hand embroidery in many of the blocks. My two photos show the quilt top before it was loaded on to the frame and the top center pineapple welcome block with my "Loves Me, Loves Me Not" petal background quilting. Each block will have a different background fill design.
Robert Callaham's designs are pretty distinctive. When I received Diana's quilt in the mail, I thought right away that it looked like a Callaham design. I did a little internet searching and found the details. It looks like it was a pattern that was first published by McCall's Quilting Magazine over the course of several issues about a dozen years ago or so. What a beauty! So exciting!
Oh my gosh. Retirement is better than I'd ever dreamed. Daily, sometimes hourly, I feel grateful to have this luxury of time. I realize I've been in a hurry for at least 35 years, and now it's really time to settle in and enjoy the seasons, the days, the hours, and the moments.
I'm especially enjoying looking back at special quilting items that were started and never finished...until now! What fun!
As I think about hurrying, I'm glad that I was never in too much of a hurry to skip the important step of preparing my fabrics for making quilts. Most of you have heard me say it before -- and it's worth saying it again -- there is no comparison between working with unwashed and prewashed fabrics. Get the chemicals out of those new cuts of fabric! Let the cotton and/or wool fibers relax and "become themselves" again. When we think about the hours and hours of time that go into a quilt or other item, we need to remember that it's important to take just an extra hour or two to prepare our fabrics. If you're like me, you'll never be sorry to have spent the time to begin this way.
By the way, I'm loving the handwork in the items I've been working on, and I'm especially excited to be doing some Norwegian Hardanger again.
Here is the quilt I told you about last week..."The Road Home" by Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries. This is one of her early patterns; I think it's from 1994. I just love it! I enlarged the original size given in the pattern so it would fill my wall space a little more effectively. The pattern calls for finished squares of 1.5 inches, and I increased my block size to 2 inches so the finished size of my quilt is 50" wide by 44" high.
I also decided to make the Flying Geese (my husband calls them crows) with a single black print for each unit instead of splitting it as shown in the original pattern. I use Eleanor Burns' Flying Geese Rulers because I think they make the most perfect geese I can conjure up!
The other little modification I made was to leave out some of the yo-yo flowers. I just want wanted more grass and fewer flowers for my quilt. I used Clover's nifty "Quick Yo-Yo Maker"; it works like a dream.
The fabrics in this quilt include about a twenty-year span of Thimbleberries prints! Can you believe it? I love the border print -- it's the signature floral and bird fabric from Club 2008 -- Lodge and Lakeside -- and this is the Lodge coloration print.
So, now what? This week, I'm repainting and sponging the wall that will be home to this quilt. I can hardly wait to hang it up!
P.S. Chrissy, our sweetie cat, can find a new quilt to try out faster than greased lightning!
About two years ago, my thoughts started turning toward retiring from teaching. I'd already reached the "Rule of 90", so I knew I could retire at any time -- but I just wasn't ready to "not be a teacher". Nevertheless, I started longing to be home and to have less stress in my life; I wanted more time to take care of my family and my home. One day in early fall of that year, I came across this wonderful early Thimbleberries pattern by Lynette Jensen. Both the name and the design of the quilt reached out and grabbed me! Right then and there, I decided it would be my retirement quilt. I chose all Thimbleberries fabrics, trying to include pieces from all of the years I've been quilting. This quilt speaks to me. I've slowly worked on it for two years, and now I'm ready to sew on the binding. In a few days, I'll post a photo of my "Road Home" with its deep red house to match our own. I enlarged the quilt a little bit, and it will hang from a beautiful Amish oak quilt hanger in our foyer. I can't wait to put this quilt up! P.S. I retired in June! I love it!
Just a few days ago, I finished this gorgeous traditional Hawaiian medallion applique quilt for Jill. The clear, light colors were a joy to look at each time I worked on it! I remember watching a "Simply Quilts" episode many years ago that featured these traditional Hawaiian quilts. I don't remember much from that episode, sadly, but I did a little "refresh" of my knowledge before I started quilting Jill's masterpiece. This form of Hawaiian quilting, with single-cut, symmetrical medallion applique blocks, began to emerge in the 1880's, and the Hawaiian women were creating these medallions as symbols of the long lost days and ways of the Hawaiian people.
If you want to learn more about Hawaiian quilts, check them out on Amazon. They have a great selection and you can view samples of some of the books.
Jill's quilt uses raw-edge applique, and I can imagine it took quite a little while to carefully machine blind-stitch around each of the medallions. This is a beautiful and uplifting quilt to set our eyes on, for sure! Thanks, Jill!
This is Heidi's "Sampler Block Shuffle" quilt from our Moda quilt club of the same name. I'd just taken it off the longarm frame for trimming and decided to get a few photos before sending it back to her. Isn't it gorgeous? Each of the thirty pieced blocks is just six-inches square and Heidi did a great job with all of those little pieces. The kits include a full Layer Cake from the "Hyde Park" collection, as well as yardage for the alternate blocks, backgrounds, borders, and binding. You get to choose the fabrics you'd like for each block from the Layer Cake and backgrounds and then you get to choose the arrangement of the pieced blocks when you're ready to put the quilt top together. It's fun! I still have a few kits left if you're interested in making this beautiful quilt. It can ship all at once or in three separate installments -- whichever you prefer!
I'm getting close to finishing this beautiful quilt depicting Colonial Williamsburg, and it's even more striking than I anticipated! I just have a couple of the applique blocks to finish (shown in the center row), and then it's time for the final border. I used the fabrics that are featured in the photo --from Windham's "Folk Art Village" for Colonial Williamsburg.
In the room where this quilt will be used, there will also be a coordinating tab-top curtain on the patio door that leads to our new "Early American Villa". I just can't wait to see the whole, three-room suite all put together by late summer. My quilt will have another border on the inside of the blue border that is shown here -- the large, signature floral print is the same, but the background of the extra border is a warm shade of honeycomb -- the same shade as the walls in the bedroom. This extra border will make the quilt the perfect size for a full-sized bed.
Windam produces beautiful colonial and reproduction fabrics from American history, and it's always a thrill to be able to purchase these collections -- especially when I can buy them from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum when visiting Williamsburg!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy these creative adventures from the Hearts & Pines Country Quilts Studio.