Colour coordinated

/ Saturday 29 October 2011 /
Just a quickie to show you how well my dogs go with my new quilt.
Here's Darla.
And here's Susie.
I knew they would look cute against the fall colours in this quilt - but I didn't realize they would blend in so completely! You can hardly tell there's a dog on this quilt!
I posted this quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival - for tons of inspiration and eye candy, grab a cup of coffee and go have a look!


/ Friday 28 October 2011 /

I'm beyond thrilled to share this quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  This is Paprika. It was a pattern by Colleen Reale in the February 2010 issue of the Fons and Porter magazine.  
Paprika complete
Detail Paprika
It is the copiest of copycat quilts (except I added a row of blocks to make it a bit bigger than the original. It finishes at 72" x 84").  I fell so hard for that line of 19th Century Reds fabric by Nancy Gere - I just had to have them all.  
Paprika quilted
Close up of Paprika
I used a large-scale print for the back that was some kind of fabric reproduction from a museum - alas, I trimmed the selvages and trashed them before I realized that I had forgotten the name of the fabric. It's a tan print with big black flower baskets - you can just see a bit of the back peeking out (upside down, doh!).  
I used a wool batting for this quilt, and quilted with a swirling meander. The wool gives it a higher loft than regular cotton or bamboo and it really gives the quilting some definition.  It's on my bed now and is it ever toasty, now that the weather is on the turn. 
I love the striped border on this - don't you think this part looks like a coral snake?
Coral snake
 I think the colours are perfect for fall, and while I was quilting it, I had an earworm that I couldn't get rid of: that beautiful, melancholy song "Autumn Leaves".  Here it is, by the late Eva Cassidy. 
As I said, I'm entering this into the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and I encourage you to go see what everyone else has entered. You will find loads more blogs to follow and inspiration galore!  And if you are looking for my birthday party and the loads of fun Person Below Me comment thread, it's here.

I'm getting "better"

/ Thursday 27 October 2011 /
I remember that old commercial for hair colour that had the tag line "You're not getting older - you're getting better!" That's a comfort, isn't it?  Especially today, because it's my birthday!  Here's a card I got today from two of my former students who are both in their 20's. 
Honestly, I don't fret about my age - it is what it is, and another year above ground is reason for a party!
So what do quilting bloggers do when they can't invite everyone over for a game of bingo and bottle of beer? Host a giveaway!  Here's what we've got:

Behind Door Number 1:  Two charm packs, one of Maison de Garance and one of Lumiere de Noel
Behind Door Number 2:  Three charm packs of Clermont Farm
Behind Door Number 3:  Five half meters of Jay McCarroll Habitat

Here's what we're going to do for entries.  Respond "True" or "False" to the statement in the post above yours.  For example, imagine the comment above yours says "The person below me has seventeen children." You would say (probably - lol) "False.  The person below me [put something hilarious/poignant/thought-provoking/nosy/interesting  here]."  Get it? I'll leave the first comment to get the ball rolling.
This giveaway is open to all, with no obligation to become a follower or broadcast this on social media.  I'll draw the winners next Friday evening, November 4.

One step closer to done

/ Tuesday 25 October 2011 /
Last week I finished piecing the blocks for this quilt - it is one giant step closer to being finished but it still needs a border.  It's another old one; I started it in September 2009.  But, hmmm.... the jury is out on this one.
I'm very satisfied to have this one finished, but I'm having difficulty working up enthusiasm for it.  I'm not sure if it looks a little too country for me? I kind of like how the batiks and the cotton prints work together - why don't we see that more often? I chose these fabrics when I started quilting again after my 15-year layoff, and I didn't realize that people don't seem to mix these fabrics very much. Not sure that I would have chosen differently if I had realized it - but perhaps it would not have entered my mind as a possibility.
I took a Jodi Barrows workshop on the Square in a Square technique - it uses a specialty ruler to make all kinds of blocks. This pattern, called Souther Skies, is from one of her books and the blocks were the basis of the workshop.
It is piecing-intensive for sure.  Here is a closer shot of one of the blocks - this star block has corner patches that are each composed of three flying geese that are sewn together, and then this triple-goose bit has four side pieces around it to bring it up to a 4" size.  Making all these geese pieces got old fast!
It's an odd size - about 55" x 77".  So, as I mentioned earlier,  it really needs a border to be big enough to use properly.  The pattern calls for two borders at 4" each.  I'm drawing a blank for what to use.  Blue and red, I guess.  But I'm not feeling the love.  What would you do for borders on this one?
(Don't you love those photos of quilt tops taken from the back? That stained-glass effect is fantastic!)

Getting stuff done

/ Sunday 23 October 2011 /
I've not lost the urge I spoke about in my last post to clear some of the unfinished projects off my docket.  Here's one thing I've been working on: quilting the Paprika quilt top that I started in the winter of 2009/2010.
My goal is to have it finished for the next round of the Blogger's Quilt Festival, which begins next Friday. Plus, the nights are getting chilly, and I'd like to have this toasty wool-batted quilt on my bed!


/ Wednesday 12 October 2011 /
 I only had a little time to sew this weekend because it was Yom Kippur and Canadian Thanksgiving (talk about going from famine to feast) and because my university student daughter was home, but I had the urge to drag this project out of the box and make some progress on it.  This is an old photo - I have many more blocks completed now and the end may be in sight.  Maybe one more weekend and I'll have them all assembled.
Southern Skies Block WIP
I know I'm not alone in having a backlog of unquilted flimsies and projects at various stages of undoneness.  I have a million ideas for new projects, but I am feeling quite guilty about those languishing in the closet.  And to be truthful, only one is in the closet - the others are down in the basement.  Pitiful.  I'm feeling like I would like to honour all the work I invested in these by finishing them up, even if the bloom is a bit off the vine.  If past history is a guide, I will fall in love with them all over again once they are quilted and washed.  Anyway, I need some advice - which one should I finish up first?  Have a look at these, in order of oldest to most recent:

Paprika.  This has been sitting around for about 18 months - a scandal.
Unnamed kaleido.  I shouldn't really even put this one up because I'm going to end it out for some longarm love - but I haven't even gotten around to buying the backing.
Kaleido quilt top
Naked Bed quilt.  I rushed to finish up this top for the Naked Bed challenge, but haven't done anything with it yet.  There's lots of Greenfield Hill on sale around now - I need to buy some yardage for the back and get it quilted up.

And what about these giant Wheels - each block finishes at 30" square and there are six of them.
Back view
Must finish this Trip Around the World up because I'm visiting the recipient of this gift quilt near the end of November.  But I'm not sure I want to make it top of my list.
Trip Around the World
Probably going to go with the piano key border on this Spiderweb.
Spiderweb 60" x 60"
Please opine and help me sort out an order of operations for these!

A New Look for a New Year

/ Monday 3 October 2011 /
I mentioned in my last post that I have just marked my second year of blogging.  I have been thinking lately about making a change to the look of my blog.  One change is the name - while I do love Pickledish, when I started blogging I didn't realize that this is also the name of the home of Kansas City Star Quilt Co., They are a shop, not a blog, but I still feel it's a bit close for comfort.  So while the url for this blog will stay the same (at least for the present), I have given this blog a new name - Stitch Literate. I like this name because it is descriptive of me as a quilter, and it also resonates to what I do in my day job as a researcher into reading development.  And having just marked Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, it seems like the perfect time to make a change.

I'm still feeling my way around this blog makeover - and I'm not quite sure that all the parts are working properly.  If you feel inclined, please leave me a comment to say you can see the changes I've made to the blog.  If you like them, you can thank my talented and very creative doctoral student, Lindsay.  And because every blog post should have a photo, I'm posting this one of me - I don't like having my photo taken but from time to time it's nice to put a face to a name.

photo for Sarah

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