Home Sweet Home, Part 5

The quilt is done, and was a great surprise for Opa. I’ve never had a quilt travel abroad before, and this one has already been to some cool places. First to Venice, Italy, then to various towns in Austria…. apparently, “have quilt, will travel” 😉 We visited Annaberg, a mountain ski village with cooler weather, and Opa took the quilt for the trip, and loved it. It’s back in the Lake District now.

What I loved about making this quilt:
1. I stepped a bit outside my comfort zone, and explored chocolate, greens and purples.
2. The quilt is to scale! thanks Google Maps 🙂
3. I’m so glad I took the time to trace the entire quilt onto the white fabric. it made the reverse applique process much easier.
4. All the ppl that helped me make this happen – my partner, his brother and mum, my sister, mum and dad, Judy and her crew at Sew Sisters, the fellow quilter who gave my fabric selections a thumbs up when I was sitting on the floor in the Hamel’s booth. Thank you.

What I can do better next time:
1. Plan for more time. I was really rushed with the quilting and binding.
2. Add more detail. I had wanted to put in landmarks, stitch in the railroad, and add the river.
3. Use a plain fabric for the background (ie, the roads). The white fabric had a shiny white print on it, that sometimes made it difficult to see the grey chalk lines.
4. Draw the quilt lines. I simply cannot sew a straight line free hand, sigh.

We visited a grand house last weekend, and I got some great pictures there of the quilt…

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hanging out on a bench in the park.

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sunning on the front lawn of the castle.

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here’s a closer look at the map.

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I managed to applique a heart to show the location of the home.

Hence, the quilt is entitled “Home is where the Heart is” 🙂

I have to admit, it was unusually easy to give this quilt away. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love it very much, but the joy it has given my partner’s parents has made the effort worthwhile 🙂

Now, what shall I sew next?

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Home Sweet Home, Part 4

The first batch of “floor board” borders came together rather quickly. I knew I wanted red, to tie in the 4.5 metres on Stonehenge red that I picked up at Sew Sisters… this fabric was first cut into two lengths for the backing… then I trimmed away some of the width for strips on the front. I opted for brown and purple floorboard borders next, the finished with 3 shades of green. I had enough of the outermost border fabric left to whip up some binding.

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I sandwiched and pinned this quilt VERY quickly. The snapshot above shows the quilt sandwich before I trimmed the excess batting – I used a queen size organic cotton backing. Even though I chose a 2″inch grid quilting design, it still took a couple of days to finish quilting. I was quilting right up until 4 hours before my flight to Venice. I was exhausted when I got on the flight… I have been sewing every night for hours after work… for about 4 weeks prior to the trip.

3 relaxing days in Venice, 1 day of train travel to Austria, and then, back to the grind – 4 hours of sewing and pressing this afternoon 🙂 I had cut the binding in Toronto, borrowed a sturdy Pfaff sewing machine from my partner’s mom here in Austria, and acquired use of his brother’s airy living room today. After a rocky start (the instructions were in German, yikes), I got the machine working. Soon the binding was pieced, folded and pressed, and attached to the quilt. Not my neatest work, but the quilt will withstand regular usage 🙂

It’s currently being washed and dried, and I will trim away any threads tomorrow. Hopefully, all this covert activity has gone unnoticed by Opa, and he will be surprised for his birthday this weekend 🙂

Home Sweet Home, Part 3

It’s been weeks. I’ve been confident and persistent, and I’ve done it! The panel is pieced, and I’m satin stitching the edges in pale grey thread now to stabilize it….. I omitted one of my colours, on my partner’s advice… but the fabric is not wasted, it will work for the quilt border and binding. I don’t have a backing pieced, and I don’t have time to piece one, so I’m just going to buy some yards of a sale fabric at Sew Sisters, or an extra wide fabric. I have not done a single fabric backing since 2010, I always piece my leftovers to make a coordinating backing, to maximize use of the leftovers, to whittle away at my stash, and to be economical. But since my leftovers are batik, I’m not worried, they will get used on another project.

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Confessions of a Quilter: during the piecing, I kept thinking I was certifiable. To get here took long hours late at night after work, and quite a bit of my weekends. But I’m really excited to finish it now…. wish me luck. the deadline is looming!

Home Sweet Home, Part 1

The turquoise quilt has found a new home with my newest niece! She is the sweetest thing, I’m so glad that she is happy and healthy.

My next project is going to be a success or a flop, I’m not certain yet. It’s for my partner’s dad, Opa, who turns 75 in July. I put together a fantastic bundle, and showed it to my partner….

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This was a bundle of precuts, and I combed my stash for some blenders. I thought it was amazing. He thought it was not – too bright, too modern, and what was with the black prints? Sigh.

I tossed it all back into the stash, and tried again. Batik! My partner loves batik (after all, his quilt is made of batiks). I put together another bundle…

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These are a happy palette. I got intel on Opa’s favourite colours from the family – blue and brown. Well, no one really knows for sure, but he wears a lot of blue and brown… and I know he has a favourite orange sweater and yellow shirt… and he loves nature, so I threw in a pile of greens that I’ve been dying to use. Soooooooooo, I asked, wouldn’t this bundle work?

The weird look I got in return was not really helpful. So I decided to ignore everyone else’s opinions on the subject to solve the problem. I did toss the pink back into the stash… but now I needed more fabric.

Lucky for me, Creativ festival was rolling around. I took a trip to Mississauga, and headed straight for Hamel’s. I went through the shelves of batik (hundreds of pieces), picked out my favourites, then sat on the floor in a corner to compare them to a photo of fabrics from my stash. Reluctantly, I discarded a few, got a nod of approval from a fellow quilter who was looking over my shoulder with interest, and headed over to the register.

Back home, I combed through my stash again, and here’s what I’ve come up with…

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Close ups below:

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It seems like a lot of fabric. But I can always edit once I decide on a quilt pattern. Now, what can I make with this?