New Quilt

I have finally finished Henry's Swimmy Quilt.  (Darned binding.  I always get stuck at that stage.)


A Day at the Aquarium Front
The inspiration for the quilt started with this photo by Kati of from the blue chair.



Her whole quilt is Gorgeous with a capital "G."  But it was that one tiny orange square that wiggled it's way into my brain and stayed there for months.  Then one night, I realized that I had to just sew it out or that orange square would never get out of my mind.   As I swam laps in the pool that night, I thought of my son, Henry.   He's a cautious guy on land.  (He's now nearly two and a half and he doesn't quite run.)  But get that guy around water and he thinks he's a fish.  He can't swim, but he thinks he can and spends all of his time attempting to drown himself.  I suddenly knew I had to make a water quilt with an orange square for my little goldfish.

This quilt started out as the back of the I-Spy quilt I'm making for him.  (Dear regular readers, I still haven't basted that poor thing. I think he may get it for Christmas. Maybe.)  Then flickr friends and blog readers convinced me that it was a quilt top.  I had no idea.  It is a good thing they set me straight.

so far




I quilted it with my walking foot and a bazillion 90 degree turns.

quilting



Last week I finished the binding.
I wish I could bring it in to take photos by the pool, but the fall pumpkins will have to do.

Henry's Swimmy Quilt



Henry's Swimmy Quilt



Henry's Swimmy Quilt

Thank you to my readers for your input.  Without it, the quilting would have been ruled by 
the front of the quilt design (and been full of diagonal lines--not good).  
Now it will hang on the wall in my son's room instead. 


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I'm adding this post to Amy's Quilt Bloggers' Festival today. 
Amy'sCreativeSide

Right now there are 400+ quilts posted there. Check it out!

Couch sewing

We've been sick for a few days over here.  I haven't gotten downstairs to the sewing room to work on the apples and canner block.  But, I've had plenty of time on the couch for sewing together some hexies.

sewing together

What do you work on when you are stuck on the couch for days? 

Apple season

First, I'll start with a quote from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  This book is about building a food culture by eating seasonally and locally and challenging the notion that eating seasonally results in deprivation.  One phrase from the book has been stuck in my mind today.

"...asparagus seems like a good place to start.  And if the object of our 
delayed gratification is a suspected aphrodisiac?  That's the sublime 
paradox of a food culture: restraint equals indulgence."

Well, swap apples for asparagus and you get a glimpse of our last few days.  Yesterday we went to the apple orchard and had apple cider, apple pie with cheddar cheese, cider donuts, and later I made pork chops with applesauce.  Today we had apple pancakes for breakfast, I canned 14 jars of applesauce and now I'm enjoying some Irish cheddar cheese over apple slices.  Yum. 

I thought I'd share a few peeks of the process of making applesauce for canning:

quartered


cored


cooked


saucing it up

 (I'm sorry that there aren't photos of the canning.  There is just too much scalding water 
and steam for me to remember to grab the camera.)



Now I'm relaxing on the couch and reveling in the pop, pop, pop of the jars sealing.
That's the sound of pure bliss after a day of canning.



Later tonight I'll return to my sewing machine. 
Next time, you'll see the picture below turned into a quilt block!

canning pot

Potholder Pass

If you are interested in joining any sewing swaps, I highly recommend the Potholder Pass swap 
run by the talented Amy.  This group has been branching out beyond potholders to 
occasionally include tea towels, sewn shopping bags, and now coasters.


coasters for swap


This round also had a theme of "My House to Yours for the potholders. 


potholders for swap

I had two separate partners as you can tell by the differing color schemes. 
It is nice to sign up for a small project challenge every now and then.


Today we got a ton of apples from a local orchard, so I know what my handmade challenge 
will be tomorrow--canning applesauce!

Giveaway Winner(s)!!

I had such a tremendous response to the initial letter giveaway.  42 comments?!  This was so great that it was hard to pick just one.  So, I let the random number generator pick three instead

So, the winners are...

#15--Vanesa

#11--SoSarahSews

and #28--Charise

I'll be working on some fabric picks and block designs just for you.  Please be patient as my sewing table is always full of projects.  Three pincushions will be on their way soon!


In the meantime...here is a shot of my latest block design/work in progress for the cocorico bee:


sweater block in progress

Done!

IMG_7465

This project comes from Rashida Coleman-Hale's book, i love patchwork. It is a ball made entirely by English Paper Piecing. I did the hand stitching on it last year--before I knew better. Now I know that 8-10 stitches per inch is enough. At the time, I was constantly worried that it would fall apart, so I did more like 25-35 stitches per inch. This thing is never coming apart. Which is good. I'm sending it to a friend to welcome her second baby. I reclaimed a rattle from another thrifted toy and placed that rattle inside this ball. So baby will play with it, and older sibling might get in on the fun and test those stitches, too. 

IMG_7464

Cocorico bee block for September

Lauree asked for "kitchen couture" blocks for her month of the cocorico bee

I started with a pencil sketch.
for Lauree



Then I used this tutorial to thread sketch the wire whisk attachment.
I also used foundation paper on the back and drawing paper on the front while I stitched it.
I had to use a tweezers to get some of the paper out but it turned out okay.

start of Lauree's block



To make the mixer paddle I used this tutorial to piece the background fabric into the gray and then used it again to piece the gray into the background again.  (does that make sense?)  I hadn't planned on thread sketching on this portion of the block.  But, the gray needed to stand out from the background fabric more and the sketching did secure the piecing better.

plugging along...



I paper pieced the dough hook. 
still working on it...


Then I improv pieced the tops of all of the attachments and improvised connecting them all into one block.  Lastly, I did some thread sketching on the dough hook to tie it all together.

cocorico bee block, detail




cocorico bee--kitchen couture for Lauree

Sooooo...that was my process for the September block. October's month is "all things orchard". I've got some ideas brewing. Stay tuned...

Initial Giveaway

I've been busy with paper piecing letters since April.  I've also been really touched by getting more readers and more comments lately.  I know that a lot of blogs give away patterns or fabric, but I'd like to make a little special something to give away.  I'd like to make an initial block just for you.

initial pincushion

So, if you'd like to enter, please leave one comment below.  Please comment with the letter that you'd like and your favorite color.  I'll pull one name and design a letter block and make you a pincushion (or a coaster for non sewists) and send it out to you.  I hope this will be a fun way to say thank you.

......

edited to add:  I'm obviously not experienced in giveaways.  Please be sure that I can get in touch with you.  If you are set up as a no-reply blogger, then please include your email address.  Also, I'll pick a number and announce next week Friday.

It takes two, baby.

While sewing templates for block #30 together after midnight and without the 
book in front of me, I accidentally created a totally different block.  
I happen to love it and I will definitely include it in my quilt.


Below is the original block #30:

farmer's wife sampler, block 30




I figure that running a farm takes both the farmer and his wife.  
So, here is my block called #112 Farming Duo (until I hear otherwise).



If you have a block encyclopedia book or if you've seen this block before and know a name for it, I'm very interested.  If you look through your encyclopedia and don't see it, I'm even more interested.  

I'd love to learn how to design traditional-type blocks.  There are so many that I can't 
imagine how you you would come up with something completely new.  Although, 
left to my own devices, I could probably only do it by accident anyhow.

Have you ever designed a block of your own (by accident or on purpose)?