Village Faire

Village Faire Top

Village Faire, quilt #117 on my 200 Quilts List

A part of the Year of Schnibbles, hosted by Sherri and Sinta.

This quilt reminded me of summer days, of green lawns that you can lay down in and drift off, and of course, pinwheels that spin with the flick of a finger, or by holding them overhead while running.  I was also reminded of local faires and immediately thought of Babe, the Gallant Pig, and Mr. and Mrs. Hoggett, cotton candy, ferris wheels.

Little Machine Sewing

I started it on the small machine, as the big machine was set up downstairs, quilting Kaleidoscope.

DulcineaFrontCoverSMHere’s the original.  You can see I changed up the border.

Village Faire Top detail

Given the bold prints of my fabrics, I felt the border was too busy for what I had going on in the center, and as we are given license to modify and create and have fun with Carrie Nelson’s patterns, I indulged and put a series of bars along the edges, with pinwheels for cornerstones.  I have a fabrics from the Comma collection from Moda and from Thomas Knauer’s Asbury collection, which has summer-time things like bumper cars and soft-serve ice cream cones.

Village Faire Back2

And on the back?  Yep–a tea towel.  This one is from Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales region of England.  We went on vacation there a few years back and as we are enamoured of Wallace and Grommit, we knew we had to head over to Hawes and sample some Wensleydale cheese.  (Even though it was raining.  And rained all day, which explains why England is so green.)

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A scene or two from Yorkshire.  I can now get this Wensleydale cheese in Costco, during the holidays.  Will wonders never cease.

Village Faire on fence

Village Faire Label

This measures a little larger than the other two Schnibbles designs, coming in at 34″ square.  I think this design would morph perfectly into a baby quilt, or a quilt for a child, by adding another row of the pinwheels.

Village Faire in guest bedroom

After taking the outside photos, I gimped upstairs (yes, I can walk around now, but not much, and have that lovely blue boot on my foot) and threw the quilt on the guest bedroom bed.  I really like these bold colors.  Given that we are heading into a weekend of 100+ degree heat, I declare that summer has arrived!

This summer may you find a Village Faire to attend, and a pinwheel to spin with a quick puff of breath.

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WIP–Bee Blocks (post revised)

UPDATE: I’ve revised this post, because this morning I realized that TODAY is Wednesday, not yesterday (when I’d originally written it: we’re a little foggy on life over here), so today I am linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

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I joined a new bee (newby! newby!). I am honored to be included in the Always Bee Learning bee, and the first block’s fabrics have arrived to be sewn (they have different rules than the Mid-Century Modern bee).  But Linda’s blocks for the MCM bee still hadn’t been made, and I like to honor my deadlines.

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So I gimped down to the sewing room, pulled out a drawer and put a pillow on it for the left foot, got out my portable iron and pad and put it on the table on the right.  I figured it was good to be sewing as long as I wasn’t putting any weight on the foot, right?  (I’m really hoping that MY idea of “partial weight-bearing” agrees with the doctor’s).

Linda block 2

But had to stand for a few minutes on my right leg while I cut the strips, then I sat and sewed.  And twisted to iron, but finished up one block before dinner.

Lindas block signature

After dinner I finished the other one (normally we only do one, but everyone else was doing two and I didn’t want to be a slacker);  I packaged it to mail tomorrow, hopefully making it to Florida by July 1st.  That small block in the front?  We do signature blocks with our Mid-Century Modern (MCM) bee.

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This is what Linda is doing with them: using them to border another set of blocks from another bee.  She says she’s stuck about what to do in the corner–maybe a rounded version of the stack?–so if you have any ideas, head over to her blog and leave her a comment. It’s always interesting to see our bee blocks being used.  Another quilter in this bee finished up her quilt (scroll down to the Mid-Century Modern quilt in neutral fabrics); I hope when it’s my turn I can be as successful.

As I lay in bed yesterday, I did make a button for that new bee:

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At least I can be somewhat productive when I lay around here.

Village Faire pinned

What else am I working on?  Well, another July 1st deadline is for this month’s Schnibbles quilt.  My husband brought up a camp chair (small chair we use when we go camping) and I could slide it in the cubby hole of my sewing desk, and yes, I did get some of that top quilted last night.  While I can only quilt for a short while, it feels good to be productive and to see a quilt take shape.

hanging Kaleidoscope Quilt

Thanks, all, for your nice comments about Kaleidoscope (in previous post).  My husband hung it up in the hallway this morning.  It brings a smile to my face as I slowly make my way up the stairs.  Here it is again:

Kaleidoscope Front

Final thought: Happy Birthday, Rhonda!  You are an inspiration, always.

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

At long last,  I have finished Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope Front

Here she is on the fence, all quilted and bound and ready to be hung up in our home.  The first picture was merely the top, unquilted, but I like that image quite fine (it’s my home screen pix on my phone).

Kaleidoscope first block cut

Krista got me started on this process and the above is a photo of my first block, blogged about *here* so I don’t need to redo the gory details (just do a search for “EPP” in my search box, if you do want the whole story).

Kaleidoscope first block begin

I liked how I could sew bitsy pieces together into a new design and they could become something else.

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I finished my first block in February 2012, wrote about it *here,* using the completion as a sort of a milestone capping off a cancer experience.  While I do like the quick quilts that sew up in a month, or whizzing through a bee block, there’s something gratifying about a longer quiltmaking experience, as it serves as a thread through many experiences and days and months and weaves in and out of other quilts.

Kaleidoscope block 3

I liked how every block was a puzzle, a mystery, waiting to be figured out, laying out the pieces to see what it should become and how to sew it together. I liked that it was portable, going to many doctor’s offices, on a road trip, and certainly while making my way through three seasons of watching Downton Abbey.

Kaleidoscope on computer lid

One center laid out on a computer laptop one night.

Kaleidoscope on a trip

Photographed on a hotel chair, pieced while on a road trip to San Francisco.

Kaleidoscope block another

The way I cut and laid out the pieces was like a twist of the wrist on a childhood kaleidoscope viewing toy, the glass pieces tumbling into another design, another shape.  So I started to think of the blocks as visions through a kaleidoscope.  I didn’t know how many of these blocks to make–it was one of those things I just kept working on and I figured I would know when I was done.

Kaleidoscope three blocks

There were three.

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Then there were six.

Kaleidoscope trying out background

And then seven, and I was trying to figure out what to do.  I ordered more fabric (bless the manufacturers who don’t yank their lines so quickly!).  The small bits in the lefthand lower corner didn’t work.  So I went with bigger triangles, trying to let the seven kaleidoscope shapes rise to the top.

Kaleidoscope background ready to sew

I labeled and sewed those together by hand as well.  Then onto the existing top.

kaleidoscope feb 2013

It sat on my pin wall and I just didn’t know what to do–wasn’t really sold on it.  Then I thought about the border, chose the bright lime, auditioned it for placement: large medallions going down the middle of the border, or small ones?  Again, trying to make the quilt center the star, I went with the latter.

Kaleidoscope borders on

Sewing the top to the borders–the only time I used machine piecing on this quilt top. I decided to leave in the papers until it was all sewn, so they could stabilize the edges.  One thing about the edges in this quilt–none were placed with regard to straight of grain, so the top was very flexible, and needed careful handling.

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

Once those borders were sewn on, the whole top began to sing together again.  And now the next puzzle–how to quilt it?  I let it sit some more, until I worked up the courage to move forward.

kaleidoscope backing

Cut and sewed together more of that second batch of fabric, trying to match medallion to medallion.  It worked well enough.

kaleidoscope pinned

I stretched out the back on my living floor, taped it down, then the batting, then the quilt and pinned it all together.   Still didn’t know how to quilt this thing, so it sat for another spell.  Finally, I realized it was never going to get done if I didn’t get going on it, and I had three days free–all in a row–so found the perfect thread in my bag from the last run to Superior Threads and got going.

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I like to sew on my dining room table.  I put down a placemat for my sewing machine and notions, and let the quilt slip-slide all over as I work.

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To grip the quilt because I’m not a fan of quilting gloves, I use that stuff you can buy at an office supply store on my fingers (one brand is SortQuik–don’t know what mine is).

Kaleidoscope evaluate quilting

After two and half days and sixteen bobbins of thread, I wanted to be done.  Really, I did, but the border was a little ripply, so it needed some more.  Final tally?  Seventeen bobbins of thread.  The quilt is 53″ wide by 54 1/2″ long, so that’s fairly dense quilting.  I used a polyester thread with little bit of sheen for the top, as well as Masterpiece, a cotton thread.  I used Bottom Line for the bobbins–it holds more; I did loosen the top tension to get the stitch balance correct.

Kaleidoscope detail 2

Kaleidoscope detail 1

Kaleidoscope Back

The back of the quilt, with the two colorways of the medallions.  I came to really love this fabric: Michael Miller’s Gypsy Bandanna.

Kaleidoscope quilt label

I had decided I didn’t want a narrow border to show on the top, so went with a faced binding.  This label was the last thing to be sewn on, last night as I lay in my bed with my foot propped up on two pillows, recuperating from another surgery (this one not life-threatening, a planned event).  But still, for those of us who like to keep busy, like to be doing, this forced idleness is really hard to deal with.  I plan to try to figure out how to do some quilting this afternoon, my good foot on the sewing machine pedal and my gimpy foot propped up on a pillow on a drawer.  I figure I can get 30 minutes in before I say “uncle,” and head back to bed.

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This is the 116th quilt I’ve made in my life, and the quilt is also part of the Finish-A-Long, quarter two.

Temporarily Out of Service

Foot Surgery

This is what I put up on Instagram, in between woozy episodes of a drug-induced haze.  Gotta’ love those drugs, however.  I did stay up late the night before my surgery putting a binding on an quilt, hoping to hand-stitch it while lounging around recuperating in bed, but given the effects of the painkiller, I’m foregoing hand-stitching for sleeping.

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But rather than leave you empty-handed, I’m including a few photos from my time last month walking around New York’s Fashion District.  Some of these are significant, and others are just sewing “eye-candy.”

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Even the little church has quilt patterns on their facade.

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It’s easy to forget that a lot of clothing has passed through the doors in this section of town, like this “Garment Wear Arcade.”

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Fabrics & Fabrics!  Yay!

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I had to work fast to get this one–a guy moving a dress form from one location to another.  It would be soooo much better if I lived closer, as there were too many treasures to try and fit into my suitcase.  I googled Nadelstern Fashion District, and found a PDF document (some years old) that listed a lot of places to go see.  Some were inaccurate, so make sure you use your Google Maps (Apple maps was almost completely worthless in NYC) to locate the stores precisely.

And if you go. . . head there with a project or two in mind.  I found myself looking at so much stuff, but having no idea what to do with it, so I didn’t buy much this trip.

Yes, I’ll be temporarily Out of Service, but hopefully not for too long–a couple of weeks–and then I’ve got two new bee blocks to get sewn up before the end of the month.  Luckily the surgery was on my LEFT foot, so I can work the presser foot after I get up out of bed!

So, what are you doing for summer vacation?

City Quilter Gallery

I love to visit City Quilter in New York City, for not only do they have amazing fabrics, they also have an attached art quilt gallery.  The exhibit when I was there was Deb Hyde: Sunshine and Shadow.

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Sunshine and Shadow–Yellow

All the quilts were made of tiny pieces of fabric, fused to a grid, sewn then finished.  That makes it sound so elementary and perhaps the technique is, but it is Hyde’s use of color and pattern that elevate these quilts to a new level.

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The above are increasingly detailed photos of the opening image, and it’s easy to see that she makes good use of fabric that we might relegate to the side of the fabric closet.

IMG_8364Pink Dress

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One of her talents is the way she defines the body, the shapes, but also makes the background interesting with varied tones and values.

IMG_8366Sunshine and Shadow–Turquoise

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Check out the use of batiks to make the eye realistic.

IMG_8375Wishful Thinking

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IMG_8379This quilt was up over the desk at the front of the gallery so I couldn’t get a good shot, but I love the way the light falls on the shoulders.

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I became interested in how she quilted these.  In my recent post I talked about Colorwash quilts and how we sewed millions of little squares together.  The newer method — of fusing them down —  is an easier way, but it does make the quilts stiffer, so I wondered how the quilting would enhance and become a part of the composition, since it would be more noticeable in the thicker texture.  This is a simple diagonal quilting style.

IMG_8373Random box pattern.

IMG_8381All over.  This piece (not shown in its entirety) is interesting because the grid appears to have been appliqued on top of the darker borders, with a scuffly, random stitching adhering and melding the two pieces into one.

The New York Times recently profiled the shop in this video:

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And while there, I glimpsed Amish With a Twist II, the newest Block of the Month quilt; I signed up for it, and the two installments of this BOM were waiting for me on the doorstep when I arrived home.  Quilting has kind of come to a halt around here, as my daughter and her three children have arrived for a week (circus circus, but really fun).  Yesterday, while I watched waaay too many episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place (with Selena Gomez as the star witch), I started cutting out the first two kits.  Other than losing my marbles with trying to figure out which color was which (Putty and Williamsburg Blue gave me extra fits of crazy), I successfully finish up the cutting last night.

Now I’ve got to run–time for breakfast for three little people and their Mom!