That Time Elephant and I Became Elephant and We

2014 finished on a sad note.  My cousin Arline passed away.  She and I were born 3 days apart in the same year, so we were very close.  She was an amazing person, and even when she was diagnosed with a severe lung illness 20 plus years ago, she persevered.  On steroids and many other medications, she took care of her two children, Michael and Nicole, and her husband Steve.  Michael was my godson, and he left us a couple years ago.  Arline was heartbroken.  So was I.  And then the day after Christmas I was heartbroken again when she passed away.

She also left behind two sisters, Connie and Cassandra.  The two of them lived in other areas but as is often the case, tragic circumstances brought them together for Arline’s funeral.  It was great seeing them together and catching up with them in person.  Seeing posts on Facebook and Instagram just isn’t the same as a good face to face talk session.

I returned home and decided that I needed to make Connie a quilt.  Connie has said she loves elephants, so I went online and googled elephant quilt patterns.  I found a fantastic pattern by Jennifer Sampou.  I had just recently purchased some of her Black and White line for Robert Kaufman, so I was interested to see what the pattern was like.  I was smitten.  Colorful.  Check.  Paper piecing – an added bonus!  I sent off for the pattern and it arrived in no time (well, USPS and a cross country trip!).

And so I went to work on the pattern.  I knew exactly what I wanted to use for the elephant.  I wanted to use the new Alison Glass Sunprints, especially the Grove pieces.  While I had done some small mini quilts using the fabrics, this would allow for greater use and show off the gorgeous colors of the prints.    I think he came out wonderfully.

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The pattern comes with figures and I made one and placed it next to the elephant.  The elephant and I.  Now I could start on the background.  Maybe.  I didn’t like the figure’s hair!  So I made another one.  And I placed that down and there were two.  And then I was suddenly inspired to make and third and suddenly the elephant and I became the elephant and we.  As I wrote on Instragram, this quilt had become a story for my cousin Connie.

Once there were three sisters whose strength, love and patience kept them together even when apart.  And though one is gone from this world, her strength remains as they walk together along life’s path.


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I could think of no better way to honor Arline and give Connie something I hoped would be both beautiful and meaningful.

I chose a variety of neutral pieces from my fabric collection (hoard some would say).  I even had some fabric from Jennifer’s shimmer line hiding in my stash (who knew!).  Here’s the piece at my long armer’s as she worked her magic.  The elephant and we!

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I’ve been collaborating with Sue Kappes of Kappes Kreations for many years now.  We first met at the local quilt shop and she has done many pieces for me.  I asked her to make this magical.  My only guidance – I wanted the bottom section under the figures treated horizontally like ground and paths, while the area above should be rays radiating from the figures.  She added so many fantastic touches throughout with some wonderful modern quilting designs. I will tell you that I was very excited when I saw it.  Here she is telling me about some of her fancy stuff (sshhhh, she doesn’t know I took this picture!).


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Here are some great shots of the phenomenal quilting:

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And today with snow blowing around outside I did a binding and I put a tail on the elephant, so my tale of strength and sisterhood comes to a close and I will send this off to Connie.

Sew on.

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Andover Adventures – Handcrafted and Chambrays

Those of you who may know me from Instagram know I rarely pass up a good quilting adventure and every now and then the stars align and a quilting adventure comes your way that you cannot pass up. So I was very excited when I got the chance to explore and work with some great offerings from Andover Fabrics – Alison Glass’ new Handcrafted line  which you can see here at Andover as well as some wonderful chambrays. Did I use them together? You bet I did.

The Handcrafted  line is the upcoming collection from Alison and brings to mind the feel and look of a batik. The fabric is a wonderful cotton weight with a good feel. The four pieces I had the opportunity to work with had great colors and design. The designs do have some subtle color and print variations to them in line with what you would expect from a handmade piece of fabric. The fabric looks less machine produced than a lot of items that are currently on the market. The fabric also had good shape retention – you will see in the blocks I created that fabric that retains shape is important to me!

I also had four chambrays to play with too, though I branched out and brought in three additional ones for the pieces I worked up. The chambrays are a slightly heavier weight and the plain weave typical of chambrays lent a great contrast to the Handcrafted fabrics I was going to use. I was particularly taken with Pumpkin – maybe because fall is setting in! You can see the chambray collection Andover has to offer here – Andover Chambrays.

And there you have the fabric line up I was diving into. What to make? As many folks know, I tend to go a little out of the box sometimes. As is often the case when I am working with specific fabric designer’s efforts, I want to let the fabric remain the center piece of the design. The four Handcrafted pieces needed to stay front and center. And since I was working with materials that evoked a spirit of hand craftedness, I thought of stained glass. I then turned to my favorite piece of quilting software, Electric Quilt and looked through the collection of stained glass blocks available. I chose three to work with. The first I left in the same way I found it, though I did blow the block up to a 24 inch finished size. The other two took some twisting and turning of the blocks to get the 24 inch finished squares I used.

Once I had the block patterns developed, it was time to get to work. I am an FPP (Foundation Paper Piecing) fan. I have been quilting for about 25 years, and early on I fell in love with the work of Karen Stone and Carol Doak. While I can stitch a mean nine patch with the best of them and my geese can fly, I continue to be drawn to FPP for the ability to create intricate blocks without some of the mechanical challenges (I hate Y seams – it had to be said).

I precut as many of the shapes as I can, though some cutting is reserved as I work up the block when I want to fussy cut some of the shapes or designs from the fabric. One of the Handcrafted fabrics I had to work with was a gorgeous red with a white flying geese pattern, and those needed to be integrated into the block shapes in a specific manner. Once all the fabric was ready to go, I shortened my stitch length on my trusty Bernina and had at it.

And here are the results. The first block evoked a star in a star pattern for me. The second was designed to focus on the geese and for me had a very Pendleton look to it. The last is a manipulated quarter rose bloom block which I think worked well for the two pieces that make up the larger points on the outside. The final picture below has all the blocks finished, with binding and hanging sleeves.  A great big thank you to Andover for letting me have this opportunity and to Alison Glass for creating another great line for me to use in my quilting adventures.  I think I see a quilt out of the middle blocks in my future!

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Market Making

Those of you who know my antics over on Instragram have seen me create three blocks recently.  I was lucky enough to get some Andover chambrays and the new Alison Glass handmade.  I think these may be heading to market in October.  Wish them luck.

This is after they were quilted, bound, and I even put hanging sleeves on them.  I mailed them off to the big city this morning.

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And here are the individual pieces.  For those of you who were interested in the bottom block, I’ve included the templates for those.  The PDF has both a 6 inch version as well as the pieces for the 24 inch block that I constructed.  I even did a coloring sheet.  The file is after these pictures.

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And this file is for you Rainbowkelf.

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Space Dust Quilt Along – Week Eight and a Farewell From Me

Welcome to Week Eight of the #SDQAL!  I am so glad you have been diligently sewing along with us and have gotten to a near finish!  This week I am going to cover adding the tops and sides to the quilt top, and announce a couple of giveaways.  John will be posting next week and covering the grand finale of finishing up, announce the giveaway winners, and share some birthday cake with us (Happy Early Birthday John!).

I will tell you that I removed all the papers from the quilt top at this point.  It made sewing the border to the quilt top easier.  Do what feels right for you.

So if you go waaaayyyyy back to page one of the pattern, you will be using those border pieces you cut.  There is a side set which are the border pieces you cut from the background fabric that measure 63 and 16 1/2 – you should have two.  Tula has great guidelines for adding these pieces in her tip on page 8.  You need to measure the center of the quilt and trim the  border pieces to that size (mine were not quite 63!).  Pin the border to the corners.  Find and match the center of the quilt top with the center of the border and pin.  As Tula notes, pin every 5 inches or so (I actually do every 2 – 3 inches but I worry about rippling).  Sew and press.

You now have a growing quilt top!  Only one more step to go.  You need to take those 90×181/2 pieces and do the same on the top and bottom as you did on the sides!

As you can see in the next shot, the borders make this grow to the humongous piece of beauty it was destined to become.

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And some folks added the borders, others opted to not add them, and some folks used some great colors!   Kudos to the creators of these and many other great Space Dust pieces.

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And now for the really fun part!  Our friends at Quilters Square have provided a half yard bundle of fabulous ArtGalleryFabrics Pure Elements for you quilting adventures.   And I have a very special pincushion courtesy of my friend Kate Tracton Designs.   John will be announcing the winners next week on his wrap up post.

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And that’s a wrap for me for the Space Dust QAL!  I want to thank John for letting me co host with him, Tula Pink for an  awesome pattern, Katarina Roccella and Art Gallery Fabrics for awesome fabric and the wondrous Quilters Square for providing the awesome kits.  And thanks to all of you who joined in the fun.

Oh, I almost forgot!  John is letting me announce the winner of the large Aurifil thread!  Phew, so much responsibility!  And the winner is angelabdesign.  contact me or john!

Space Dust Quilt Along – Week 6 – Row Five

Well heading into the home stretch!  This is the next to the last row that comprises the body of the space dust!

This row uses templates EE through LL.  Have those ready to go along with your fabric?  Then get to it and get it done!  John will be back next Friday to get week 7 and Row 6 all finished up.  Then on to the sides and tops and voila, space dust.

Here’s my indelible version with Row Five attached.

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John announced another giveaway last week – one lucky winner will win a half-yard bundle of Pure Elements solids, courtesy of Quilter’s Square and Art Gallery Fabrics. And I get to draw the winner!

Cue the music…and the winner is…See_Marj_Create!  Please DM me on IG or comment here with your details and I will get them to Quilter’s Square!

Don’t forget to check the blogs next Friday for Week 7 Row Six – John will be hosting and announcing another great giveaway!

And for those of you who found you love this pattern like I did, make another one!  Here’s my Version 2.

Photobomb courtesy of sister Xena Hawthorne!
Photobomb courtesy of sister Xena Hawthorne!

 

 

 

Space Dust Quilt Along – Week 5 – Row 4

John is hosting the week 5 activities over at http://www.quiltdad.com/2014/08/space-dust-quilt-along-week-5_29.html.  For this week, we will be completing Row 4 of the Space Dust pattern and adding it to the collection!

I shamelessly borrowed John’s picture because I have Liberty of London Van envy.    The picture also shows his Row 4 added to the growing project.    John also posted a lot of pictures of the various projects over on Instagram – great collection showing the diversity of projects using Indelible and a host of other fabric lines.  Go over to his blog to check them out!

John's project coming along with Row 4 - and snazzy shoes too!
John’s project coming along with Row 4 – and snazzy shoes too!

John also announced the winner of the gift certificate from Quilters Square http://www.quilterssquareky.com/.  Congrats to Sharni (@lyrebird_lamb) is this week’s winner. Email or DM John with your details!

Ready for another giveaway? Remember, anyone who posts their progress through row 5 will be eligible for this week’s giveaway, and it’s a good one. One lucky winner will win a half-yard bundle of Pure Elements solids, courtesy of Quilter’s Square and Art Gallery Fabrics. Simply post your photo on Instagram or Facebook with hashtag #SDQAL.  If you post your photos elsewhere (like Flickr or your blog), remember to leave a comment on either one of our blogs telling us where we can find your pictures.

I get to announce the winner of the fabric bundle in next week’s post on Row 5.  Only a few more weeks remaining on this fantastic project.

And now I am off to buy some snazzy shoes…

#SDQAL – had a Britney moment

image image image imageOops I did it again! While I loved the original spacedust I constructed from the Tula Pink pattern using Indelible, I also saw one in more greys with a Spirodraft background.

I gathered an array of greys with some blues and a couple of Indelible fabrics to fit in.  I started Friday night and finished up Sunday.  The pattern goes together quickly, especially when you are watching a Dr. Who marathon waiting for the new season! Really happy with how it turned out.

 

 

 

 

Space Dust Quilt Along – Week 4 – Row Three

Welcome back!  Hope you are having fun and enjoying the process.  The theme I was using was updated and now doesn’t work, so I had to switch themes!  Panic blogger!

If you checked out John’s post for Row 2, you will know that he gave some ‘lessons learned’ as he has been progressing through the process.(http://www.quiltdad.com/2014/08/space-dust-quilt-along-week-3.html) .  I found that using the fabric with directional prints was most challenging and while the patten says quarter yards, I think some of the prints would have been better with fat quarters for that extra width!  This has also reinforced my love of paper piecing.  Yes, regular piecing is fun, but when you want to go complex, paper rules my world!

And there has been so much progress over on Instagram.  Some folks are even done (yeah, yAnd since you are building off prior week and have rows one and two under your belt, you should be a pro at paper piecing by now, so I am just going to post a couple quick items to get you started for this row.ou know who you are!).

So with this row you will officially be halfway through the Space Dust rows!  Whoot!  And since you are building off prior week and have rows one and two under your belt, you should be a pro at paper piecing by now, so I am just going to post a couple quick items to get you started for this row.

This row uses templates O through V.  I think this is the most challenging row because of the color swaps needed to build off the prior row and thinking ahead to the next row.  For those of you who did a lot of advance planning, this should be a breeze.  For those of you like me who tend to wing it, let’s hope the paper piecing gods are at the beach this weekend for one last fling before school starts.

And here’s row three all put together and added to rows one and two.

Here's row three (and a sneak peek of row four!)
Here’s row three (and a sneak peek of row four!)

And if you checked John’s post you know he posted the first #SDQAL giveaway, Indelible inspired threads courtesy of Aurifil (http://www.aurifil.com/SiteAurifil/HOME.html) and Kela from http://www.quilterssquareky.com/.  I checked out all the postings on the IG tag and even found someone over on Facebook!  So I put all the names into my favorite bowl and got someone else to draw the winner (did you event that I was going to take responsibility for such a thing!)…

IMG_5257And the winner is….JKIMRcongratulations!  If you can direct message me or John on Instragram or e mail me (prhjrcoastal@msn.com) with your mailing info, I will coordinate with my Quilter’s Square friends.

John will be posting next week with Row Four.  And moving into the home stretch (yes, I quickly heading toward September!) John will be announcing the winner of the next giveaway, a $15.00 on line gift certificate for Quilter’s Square.  So remember to post your comments here, on John’s blog, on Instragram or your other social media and keep using the #SDQAL.  Happy sewing!


 

If orange is the new black, earth is the new white for me…

As many of you know, there are a couple of fabric designers that I absolutely love.  I waited (somewhat impatiently!) for the release of Alison Glass’ Field Day.  And when it was release I purchased a fat quarter collection of the line.  Had no idea what I would do with it, but I bought it just to have!  If you want to see the entire line, head over here http://alisonglass.com/products/index.html

And then one day I was playing around in Electric Quilt 7 and came up with some ideas.  Which stuck in my head.  And when things stick in my head I wind up making them.  Sooner or late.

I had also decided that I wanted to start working in more muted shades – okay, I will just come out and say it, I needed to do something that was not using a grey or white or black background.  I’ve been working a lot lately with white or grey, and I needed a change.  I colored the blocks in EQ7 with a lovely brown.  Yes, brown.

And then I bought Kona Spice, Carrot, Sienna, and a couple others.  Taupe.  None really worked.  Then I found it.

Earth.

It is rich.  It is a perfect shade.  It blends.  It highlights.  It does all the things a background color should do!

And then I made some blocks.  The upper left and lower right are Andrea Bishop blocks from her EQ collection.  The other two are from EQ 7 – the upper right is called Argyle Socks.  The bottom left is actually a crazy quilt block from EQ7 that I recolored and then flipped and rotated until I got it into the layout I wanted – there are four blocks in the larger block.  All the blocks are 24 inches.  Well, except one which I mis-sized and have to add a small border to!  I am going to play around some more to see where this ultimately goes.

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This is the primary block for the lower left block.

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And the block in the upper left was supposed to have four borders of those super skinny geese, but they were way too tedious to make and I went in a different direction with it.  Here’s something I made and sent off to a new home with the skinny geese block.

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Space Dust Quilt Along – Week Three – Row 2

Sorry I am a day late and maybe even a dollar short since I did go to the farmer’s market this morning!  Bought some great donut peaches!

I am really enjoying seeing all the progress from folks over on Instagram.  And a couple new people have jumped into the SDQAL pool!

John over at http://www.quiltdad.com/ will be covering the details of Row 2 with you over on his blog.  If you take a peak at Tula’s pattern page 5, you will see you have moved to pattern pieces G through N.  If you are designing this in similar fashion to the pattern, you will be moving into sections that do a lot more color changes!

Here’s a picture of my project with Row 2 added.  You will see that I started adding the coral and purple in the kit.

IMG_5034Don’t forget to head on over to John’s blog!  I will be writing up Row 3 next Friday and I have something special going on, so see you back here next week.