Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Here are my Civil War Quiltalong blocks from the last few weeks. #16:

Civil War Block 16

The instructions for this one called for the striped fabric (here, fabric with a grid on it) to be cut into eight pieces (four triangles and four squares), lining up the edge of a stripe with the edge of the ruler so that the stripes would match up when the pieces were sewn together. A few clever quilters decided to cut the square-and-a-triangle in one piece instead, and I followed their lead, saving myself a few seams and preserving the integrity of my grid.


Civil War Block 15

I initially wasn't sold on the colour choices I made for this block (such doubts are a consequence of picking out fabrics in the semidark while watching a movie in the evening—not interrupting the ambience by turning on a light seemed like a very good idea at the time!). I felt apprehensive when I was sewing on the corner triangles, apprehensive when I was pressing the seam allowances into place from the back, apprehensive as I turned it over to inspect the front. Then I put it beside the other blocks and it was completely fine. All that anxious energy expended for nothing!

The muslin I'm using as the light fabric common to all the blocks that need a light fabric is doing a lot to pull the blocks together, I feel. Even when there's only tiny flashes of it, like the whole four square inches in the block I was worried about.

Last, #17:

Civil War Block 17

This one was very quick to put together (no triangles!). I used nine different blue fabrics from my little collection of blue fabrics and am very pleased with the result.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Long weekend

I've been paper piecing:

Another hexagon pincushion

And quilting:

The backs of mug rugs

And finishing knitting:


The rest of the weekend is earmarked for more of the same.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blue and orange

The third block in the Civil War Quiltalong has seven little stars appliqued to it. Applique is totally new to me so I wanted to try something easier.

Civil War Block #3

This might be a little anachronistic, but I like it. (Although I could have made the flower a bit smaller.) And now I want to applique more things!

I also have some knitting-in-progress to share, with yarn that Miss Babs was generous enough to send me. One little stranded colourwork number in two colours:

blue and orange knitting in progress

This colour combination has been rattling around in my head for months, and I only recently figured out why. Pictured below is the tiny shelf above my stove that I look at every day.

Shelf above the stove


Both of these colours are from her collection of monochromes, which are solid enough for detailed colourwork or lace but have a wonderful richness and depth to them. Since I have been looking at fabric for quilts so much, they are reminding me of Cherrywood solids.

I think knitting thoughts have been bleeding into my quilting thoughts, because the blue and orange thing looks a lot like simple square-in-a-square blocks set on point, and I want nothing so much as to make a couch-sized quilt in that pattern in #225 Peacock Blue and #230 Pumpkin.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bigger yet

Those 8" quilt blocks I have been making seem big enough when I'm making them, but they're nothing compared to these behemoths:

three dresden plates

These enormous dresden plates are part of the quiltalong hosted by Lynne at Lily's Quilts, and the blocks will finish to 30". I took a long time figuring out which fabric to use and finally settled on these oranges from Lonni Rossi. I pulled out the palest fabric of the bunch to use for the centre circles, and pulled out the darkest ones to cut into strips for the borders (not pictured).

I have to confess that I'm setting in the centre circles in by hand—this is partly because I didn't feel like dragging out the sewing machine when I was getting started on them and now my fate is sealed, and partly because the Civil War quiltalong blocks have given me a fondness for hand-piecing. I doubt that I'll piece the dresden plates into their backgrounds by hand, though; they're 78" around!

My partner thinks the dresden plates look like a child's drawing of the sun, and they do. But I think the blocks resemble huge cross-sections of citrus fruits, which means that they tie in nicely to my current fixation, which is making marmalade out of the last beautiful fruits of winter.


So far I have Meyer lemon, Minneola tangelo, blood orange, and key lime marmalades. (There were satsumas earmarked for marmalade, but I ate them.) And I'm already planning slightly more adventurous ones for next year. A variety of tangerines! Lemon-vanilla! JalapeƱo-lime! Grapefruit! Kumquat! I am convinced that lemon-orange-bergamot marmalade is the only thing missing from my life! Clearly I need to move to California or the Mediterranean where these things actually grow, instead of just sighing wistfully over them from afar.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Thanks to the mighty Shannon Okey, I can show off two projects I worked on last year! One is a mostly-Shetland lace shawl ("mostly" because of how it's constructed) knitted out of the most glorious indigo-dyed alpaca from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

(Yeah, I'd wear it with nothing underneath, too; that yarn is soft.)

The other is a pair of gloves that would be very plain if they weren't cashmere and silk.

The red is the reddest red, and they are the most decadent things I have ever felt. You can get the yarn from Lisa Souza and I recommend that you do.

Both of these are going to appear in Shannon's upcoming Fresh Designs books, which are the subject of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign over here. It makes my heart swell a little to see that as of this post, 88 knitters and lovers of knitting (and lovers of knitters?) have pledged $4401 out of the $5000 goal—and the month is only four days old. If you can spare a few dollars and want books or patterns or other cool things in exchange, go take a look!

Quilt blocks little and big

Four more Civil War QAL blocks finished since last we spoke, and now I am much closer to being caught up. First I made #10:

Civil War Block #10

I regret that I couldn't find a good flower that was the right size for that centre square, and might eventually be moved to embroider one there.

Then I made #11:

Civil War Block #11

Barbara Brackman says that this pattern is sometimes called Ocean Waves, so I had to make it in blue and yellow (sea and sand, you know).

On Friday evening while we were watching TV, I made #12:

Civil War Block #12

And on Sunday night I made this week's block, #14:

Civil War Block #14

A trend I am noticing is that I keep gravitating toward the less fiddly blocks to make immediately, and leaving the ones with more pieces for later. Now that I've noticed, though, I hereby resolve not to be avoidant about these little challenges. Next up is block #5, which has a million 1-inch half square triangles in it.

I felt quite pleased with the delicate smallness of these blocks until I saw these miniature versions that one quilter has been making, with a thimble for scale. Man. These are the greatest things I have ever seen.