Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TST # 13 - A Quilt for Farewell

This time I'm pulling out a quilt that was presented to a former boss on his departure from the firm for a two year sabbatical.  The story behind this quilt goes like this. 

This particular boss had been with the firm for a very long time, and would frequently invite his department to his island property for a get together. I thought it might be nice to present him with a quilt.   On one particular occassion I asked his wife what her favorite colour was.  She replied, “Blue.  Why do you ask?”  I responded that it was to be a surprise.   The company was going to host a “Bon Voyage/Farewell” dinner for him  and time was short.  I wasn't sure if I could get it done, but it was possible to have the quilt done with a bit of help.

Choosing an appropriate pattern and colour was easy; Eoin was originally from Ireland and because his wife liked blue, I chose A Double Irish Chain in blue.  I also decided that all the staff members that had at some point worked with Eoin should sign a patch to be added to the quilt. 
This was the front of the quilt.
The signature patches from staff members would be used for the back of the quilt.  In order to have them match up with the blocks on the front, it took some creative work with graph paper to figure out how large the signature patches would have to be.  As it turned out, they were a bit smaller than anticipated so sashing had to be used to make up the difference.
This was the back. 

It still needed a label, and I had to figure out how to incorporate one without disturbing the integrity of the patches on the back.  As it turned out the number of signature patches were short by one; the final label would fit nicely into the pattern in the lower right corner of the back. 
I was running out of time so the quilt was tied.  It still needed to have the binding sewn on.  What was I to do?  The quilt had to be presented that next day at the dinner planned for Eoin.  I hid in a boardroom somewhere and finish it while one of our firm’s assistants did an admirable job of “covering” for me.  Finally the quilt was finished and ready for presentation.

Eoin’s quilt entitled “Pieces of Double Irish Chain” front and back
Several years later I ran into Eoin and asked if he still had the quilt.  He stated that his wife would not let him use it except for special occasions, or when one of his children was ill.  Nice to know that it was still being used.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Revealing Green

Today is reveal day over at the Tangled Textiles blog.  Who knew that there are so many different ways to interpret “green”; all a bit revealing if I may say so.  Go have a look and then come back to see how I created mine. 
So what comes to mind for you when you say green?  I asked myself that very question and initially just drew a blank.  So with sketchbook in hand I started writing words that made me think of green; words like avocado, algae, pea, etc.  As the list grew an idea started to take shape.  I’m going to make my piece out of nothing but green; words that suggest green, green letters for those words, a green background, and green embellishments.

I chose several words from the list, printed them out in various different fonts and made templates out of the letters.  My next step was to cut the letters out of green fabric.  I started pulling from my fabric stash to choose appropriate greens.  I was not happy with the selection of greens that I had.  However a serendipitous fabric purchase while on a trip to California, was just the ticket. 

I used half the width of the fabric as the background.  To the other half of the fabric I pressed Steam a Seam and cut out the letter templates.  I chose to reverse the colour “order” of the words when I appliqued them to the background.
Once the letters were fused to the background, I stitched them in place.  I FMQ’d around the words so that they would hopefully “pop”.  Almost done, but I thought that the piece needed a bit of balance so I decided to add some small embellishments.  A leaf that I made from two layers of tulle, pictured here

and some frog buttons.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

TST #12 Round Robin Doubles - Part II

As mentioned in Part I last week of the Round Robin Doubles, the Sea Lily block was used as the central block for both Round Robins.  The "Parrots" group received the block on the left and the "Cranes" group was sent the one on the right.  Same block, different colour pallets and value placements.

The following pictures show the progression of the Cranes RR.

The first recipient Judy in Wisconsin added the first round. She is pictured here with her completed border; equilateral triangles that gave the appearance of the block being set on point. Judy had been diagnosed with cancer and although she completed this round robin, she was never able to see the end result of the tops to which she had contributed.

From Judy in Wisconsin, the block went to Kay in Washington State. Here Kay turned the block on point and added a checkerboard border.

Kay did not ordinarily work in these colours, but she did a marvellous job of brightening up the quilt top. I worked on Kay’s top during the round in which we were to add the “Friendship” border. Kay loved sailing, so I chose to make a border of paper-pieced sailboats.
From Kay’s the little quilt top went across the ocean to Paris, France to Tatiana’s home. Tatiana did the Friendship border on mine. She chose to use a particular maple leaf block (one of Canada's national symbols) for the border and added additional border to create the illusion of turning the quilt on point again.

Finally the quilt top made its way to Sheena Gilbert in Scotland. Her border was to include triangles so she used a flying geese border with the corners displaying an appliquéd Maple Leaf in tartan. 
Like that of the Parrots RR, this quilt top also sat for a long time before being completed.  When completed in December 2006, some ten years later, I gave to to my Dad.  He and his brother now had a quilt whose central block was the same pattern but looked unique, just like each of them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TST #11 Round Robin Doubles - Part I

One of the activities on Compuserve that I had a wonderful time with was Round Robins.  This was a bit different than the progressive quilt that I posted about here.  Joining a Round Robin was again a first for me.  Seems I was getting a lot of firsts during my membership in the Compuserve Quilting Forum.

I signed up and before I knew it, the organizer, Kay, had put me into two groups.  Yes I know, I know.  That's a lot of work.  However, Kay was short one person for an international group and I just couldn't say no.  So, I was listed with two groups the “Parrots” and the “Cranes”.  There were a total of 9 groups of 5 members each, and carried such names as “Sparrows”, “Swans”, “Doves”, “Blue Jays”, “Cardinals” and “Peacocks”. 

For both round robins, I used a block called Sea Lily for my centre block.  However, as you can see I used a different colour palette and placement of dark and light values in each block so they looked entirely different even though they are the same block.  The pattern came from Jinny Beyer’s Patchwork PortfolioThe one on the left was used for the Parrots round robin, while the one on the right for the Cranes round robin.
For this post I'm going to show you the progression of the Parrots group.  From the block on my makeshift design wall to the end product.
Next my block was sent along with some additional fabric to Linda in Vermont.  She added a triangle border to my block, incorporating equilateral triangle and "on point" squares.  Very ingenious.

Dave in New York received it next, placed the block on point and added add a 2 to 4-inch border consisting of squares.  At the time I was surprised that a man took an interest in quilting.  I know better now.  I think he did a wonderful job. 
Next, Marge in Nebraska experienced difficulty.  This round was called the “Friendship” border.  You were to add something that reflected the individual whose quilt you were working on.  She machine embroidered a black cat in the lower left corner for the kitty I had at the time, added a square of fabric with tropical fish in the lower right corner for my love of the tropics and some odd pieces in the upper left and right corners.  A little odd…
Last but not least the block, now quilt top was sent back to New York to Charlotte.  Her task was to add appliqué to the top.  She chose to add Celtic knot work to the blue border that Marge had attached.   
I decided that I did not like the corners that Marge had put on the quilt (sorry Marge) and changed the corners to make a more cohesive result.  Here is the finished quilt.  It now resides with my uncle in Germany.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TST #10 - Christmas Stars

Here is a little lap quilt that is the result of a block exchange organized in October 1994 on Compuserve.  It involved exchanging blocks that were to be 4 inches finished in size, either pieced or appliquéd, using Christmas colours/fabrics.  They were exchanged December 10, 1994.  Never having worked with blocks that size, I challenged myself and joined the exchange. 

The blocks that I received came from France, Michigan, Singapore, Iowa, and California/
The blocks sat for a long time because I really didn't know how to put them togther into a pleasing arrangement.  Then it came to me.  I could use a paper piece pattern that created a varied feathered star and place these little blocks in the center square. 

Paper-piecing was a technique that I discovered at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in San Francisco in October 1994.  This is the paper-piecing pattern that I used from a book that I purchased entitled “Paper Piecing Patterns” by Shirley Libby.  I'm sorry about the quality of the picture. 

This wonderful little lap quilt now keeps me warm during the holiday season.  I hand quilted stars in the blank setting squares, called in "My Christmas Stars" and finally completed it in October 2004, 10 years later, in time to finally use it for the holiday season in 2004..

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TST #9 - Signatures

One of the fun things about belonging to an Online Guild like the CIS Quilting Forum was the numerous exchanges and friends that you could meet.  An exchange of signatures was organized by some of the members.  Each month we were provided with a list of 5 names and addresses to whom we were to send one signed signature block unit and one 2½-inch square of fabric.  We were to mail these little packets by the 15th of each month. 

The block units were taken from the pattern “Forever Friends”published in the September 1990 issue of Quilter’s Newletter Magazine #225.  It was also shown in the November 1993 issue of Traditional Quiltworks #28 as “Friendship Star”. 

In February 1995 a second round was organized.  Those that joined for the first round were now able to collect additional signatures.  I had received signatures from members in Singapore, France, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, just about every state in the US and every province in Canada.

For a long time my units and their 2½-inch companions set in a decorative tin box that periodically would be opened.  The units would be admired and the box closed.  Finally after many months (more like years) I put the units together, and this is the result.
Collecting started in April 1994, finished in June 1995and I finally pieced them into a top and completed the quilting in August 2008.