Opening Day

Opening Day
December 2018

This is a memory quilt I made for my brother-in-law Ryan as a remembrance of his Dad who passed away in early September. Hide (pronounced ‘hee-day’) loved fishing, and it was a hobby that he and Ryan shared. Each Spring, they would travel from Southern California to the eastern Sierra Nevada to participate in the opening of fishing season on the last Saturday in April.

Hide was a Japanese American citizen. In June of 1942 at the age of 16, he was incarcerated in the Manzanar War Relocation Center, a remote, military-style camp located in California’s Owens Valley, in the foothills of the Eastern Sierra. At night, Hide would sneak out of the guarded encampment to fish in the pristine mountain lakes, rivers and streams just outside the camp’s boundaries. Being interned, he didn’t have access to a fishing pole and reel. He had to make due with a stick and string with hand-made lures and hooks. In late 1944, Hide left Manzanar to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an Army unit comprised of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland United States.

Hide’s love of fishing in the pristine lakes, rivers and streams of the Eastern Sierra called him back to the Owens Valley each year. From the late 1940’s, Hide never missed an Opening Day. Ryan joined his Dad on these yearly trips, and he himself has not missed an Opening Day with his Dad for the past 42 years.

I chose to do this as a medallion quilt. The center fish design was from a tee-shirt, while most of the remaining fabrics were from three of Hide’s casual dress shirts. The fish in the four corners of the fourth border were from his pillowcase. I purchased the cream, dark blue and grey fabric to provide contrast to all the printed fabrics, and I also purchased the fishing lure fabric (in beige) to complement the fishing lure fabric taken from one of the shirts. In my final border, I wound these two fishing lure fabrics to represent Hide and Ryan: it is meant to be symbolic of how a parent and child’s life travel along separate paths, but always intersect, staying connected throughout life’s journey.

Go Teal it on the Mountain

ovarian cancer fundraiser

Donation block for Go Teal it on the Mountain
December 2018

Back in September, Kate over at TallTalesfromChiconia was looking for contributors to her upcoming Ovarian Cancer Australia auction quilt. While I have not participated in a single-block donation project before, the timing of her request came at a significant time for me: a close family member had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I wanted to participate as a tribute to her and her battle.

Kate’s plan was that every block feature some sort of mountain idea, and that the color palette be the Ovarian Cancer colors of teal and cream. As an avid backpacker, I have hiked many miles, mostly in California’s Sierra Nevada. The image of mountains in either the early morning or late evening is breath-taking. I love how the foreground hills have deeper color and the farther, distant mountains are taller, more rugged and their color is more muted, almost blending away into the sky. This is what I wanted my block (shown above) to mimic: how a mountain range looks in the fading light of day. As with all my quilt projects, I used fabric that was a piece from the past. In this block, the fabric used at the bottom was from my Granny. To help achieve differentiation between these two mountains, I used the front side of the fabric for the mountain on the left, and the  back of the same fabric for the one to the right.

Kate received blocks from all over the world, and she then did the final layout, joining and quilting to achieve an amazingly beautiful quilt! I hope you take a moment to check out the finished quilt on her blog (click here). My block is the second block in the second row.

Confetti

quanket

Confetti
December 2018

This quanket is a Prairie Flower block pattern. Jenny over at the Missouri Star Quilt Company has a great tutorial on YouTube if you are interested in giving this design a try.

It’s always such fun to see how fabric choice and placement can drastically affect the look of a design. Jenny’s quilt has a very modern vibe to it, and you certainly get the sense that they are flowers. However, I quickly found that this pattern can create a strong X design when using the same fabric for each block, which I only noticed as I started getting my finished blocks onto my design wall. And since I was using strong colors in my colorway, it seemed to make the X’s stand out quite a bit, which I felt detracted from the “flower” aspect. Instead of going back to square one, literally, I decided to stick with the fabrics I had chosen, but to alter the fabric placement in every other block to help break the X’s.

The fabric I pulled from my stash to represent a piece of the past is the floral that is in the border and flowers, which I inherited from Edith. I suspect she had planned to make a dress with it, as there were, and still are, several yards of this fabric in my stash! I then pulled in yellow, red and blue to complement the colors in the floral.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a child in foster care in December 2018.

The Bees Knees

quanket

The Bees Knees
November 2018

This is my adaptation of Jacquelynne Steves Save the Bees BOM which began back in August. Since I was away on a road trip through Utah and Colorado for most of August, I felt a bit rushed to get the first block done when I got home, and chose to deviate from Jacquelynne’s original flower appliqué design for this block (my block is in lower left corner). I used an embroidered tea towel to which I added the embroidered bee.

For September’s BOM, pictured in the lower right corner, I designed the flower appliqué to better match my first block, intentionally winding it on a post so that I could do a second accompanying block with a beehive sitting atop the post. I wanted to incorporate a memory from our road trip into this quilt, and what could be more fitting than a beehive! The beehive is the state symbol of Utah, which we saw a lot on our trip since this is on all their state highway signs. The two blocks on the right side are what I made in September.

October’s block is the one with the hexagons in the upper left and November’s block is the bee in the center. Since I had varied the design from the start, I had planned on making the third and fourth blocks and then choosing one or the other for the final quilt. However, once I had everything on my design wall together, I liked them all so much that I didn’t want to have to choose between these two. Instead, I opted to further deviate from the original design for this quilt to make it what it has become.

I used a lot of fabrics from my stash, many that were Pieces of the Past, including two embroidered tea towels, the cute bee fabric behind the hexagons, and the fabric shown below which is a Debbie Mumm print from 1995. The stamp on the fabric says Debbie Memm – perhaps like coins, this misprint makes it more valuable? 🙂 This has been a fun project to participate in. I learned new things like how to make an HRT, as well as dusting off my appliqué skills.

Why the name? I grew up hearing the phrase The Bees Knees, and I like the silliness of it. In looking up its origin, this phrase along with the cat’s whiskers, the cat’s pajamas all became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s (long before I was born 😉 ). Here are some other similar phrases that didn’t endure: the eel’s ankle, the elephant’s instep, the snake’s hip and the capybara’s spats. This last is hands-down my favorite! (source: Wiktionary)

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a child in foster care in December 2018.

 #SavetheBees

Nocturne

quanket

Nocturne
October 2018

This is a variation on a Churn Dash quilt block that I first saw on Jacquelynne Steves Sew Quilty Friends Facebook group. In researching to find out more about this block design, I came across this similar Churn Dash variation over at Angela Walters Midnight Quilt show on YouTube, and I also found a great resource site, BlockCrazy.com. In all that I looked at, this block seems to be a melding of the Capital T block and the Churn Dash block.

For the colorway, I really wanted to keep it limited to just two colors. However, as it came together on my design wall, I decided to add the thin black lines around the purple blocks to draw the eye to the center of the quilt, and give more definition to the purple blocks. The patterned teal’ish fabric is one that has been in my stash for years (a piece of the past from Granny), and is probably circa 1970’s.

Like my last quanket, the name inspiration also comes from music. I always have music playing while I am working in my studio, and while working on this quilt, Chad Lawson’s piano piece, Nocturne in A Minor came on, and wow, what a beautiful piece. I felt the name Nocturne was befitting, as the color palette of this quanket has a night-time feel to it.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a child in foster care in October 2018.

The Bees Knees

The Bees Knees
August – December 2018

This is the first time that I have participated in a Block of the Month (BOM), and so far, it’s a lot of fun! This free BOM project is called Save the Bees and is being hosted by Jacquelynne Steves over at The Art of Home. It is running through December, and there is still time to join – just use the form on the right side of this page.

The first block in this BOM is the one pictured on the left above, and while it called for an appliquéd flower and bee for the center of the block, I chose to use an embroidered tea towel instead for a couple of reasons. First, since I had been on vacation for much of August, I only had a few days left in the month to get this done before the September BOM came out. Second, I always try to incorporate a ‘piece of the past’ into my quilts, and I really liked this tea towel I had inherited from Edith for the center of this block. I then embroidered the bee to keep with the #SavetheBees theme. 

For September’s BOM, pictured to the right above, because I had drifted from August’s BOM flower design, I designed the flower appliqué to better match my first block. I haven’t done much appliqué since I learned the freezer paper technique about 15 years ago, so it was great to dust off this skill 🙂 I used Heat n Bond Lite to hold the pieces, and then needle turn appliqué around the edges.

While I am excited for next month’s BOM, I have plenty of other quilting projects to keep me busy until then – don’t we all? 😉

Three Little Birds

quanket

Three Little Birds
July 2018

I have been on a recent kick of digging through my scrap bins to incorporate whatever might work in the color palette I’ve chosen for my quilt. It’s my hope to diminish my scraps, but as you might have read in my last post, that doesn’t seem to be the case! I’m sure there is some complex calculation like, ((Gross – Net)/ Net)*100 = 100% that is the reason behind my scrap bins being full at 100% no matter what I do 😉

I keep my scrap bins sorted by colors, but that’s where my organization of the scrap bins end. I use photo boxes (eight in total) for each color and combine a few into one, like white, grey and black, to give you an idea of how many scraps I have.

The idea for Three Little Birds started with a sweet bird fabric found at the local fabric store. There are three birds in the design – pink, teal and grey. I sized them at 5″ (finished) and used them as the centerpiece for a recent quilt block I found called Bright Hopes. I sized the surrounding pieces at 2″ (finished). This is a really great pattern for a quick project or for someone just starting out, as it has few intersecting seams. You can get the pattern over at Red Pepper Quilts.

This block tutorial taught me a new trick: sewing the first and second pieces together with a partial seam. Wow – what a fabulous idea. I suspect many quilters have been doing this forever, but it was a first for me. My Grandmother taught me to sew over 50 years ago (mostly clothes), and since then, I took one sewing class in high school, and a quilting appliqué class several years ago. I would love to take more classes or join my local guild to learn even more cool tricks, but my current schedule doesn’t allow. Perhaps someday…

The name inspiration? The legendary Bob Marley, of course!

Three Little Birds
Bob Marley
Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying’, (this is my message to you)
Singing’ don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a child in foster care in October 2018.